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The Campanile

Paly library should stay open past 5 p.m.


High schoolers  deal with the everyday stresses of schoolwork, family responsibilities and extracurricular activities. It would be in the best interest of students to keep the library open until 6:30 p.m. every day. That way, all students would have plenty of time to study in the library, utilizing its resources and finishing their homework in the library before they even get home. 

 To manage the never-ending amounts of work piled on my plate, a goal I have set for myself is to finish all my homework and studying before I get home, allowing me to spend more time with my family and find time to give myself a much-needed break. However, I am unable to do that because the library closes at 5 p.m. every day. 

With school ending at 4:10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, students have a mere 50 minutes to utilize the library before it closes. Many students also have sports practices and extracurricular activities after school that require them to stay on campus for several hours after school ends. With the library closing at 5 p.m., students who have such activities can’t use the resources provided at the library and instead have to complete assignments at home where fewer resources  are available. 

After a long day of school, students may also need time to wind down in a quiet area, free of distractions.  Students who have an unstable home environment need extended periods of peace to focus on homework or to simply enjoy a good book.

Extending the library’s hours to 6:30 p.m. will also enable students to study with friends in a quiet environment where they can receive help from their peers. Although students can study with friends at home, the home environment is often more distracting. The library also has collaboration rooms for students to use, which gives students the option to study together with a friend if they would like to talk but not distract others. 

For example, my siblings and parents are at home all the time, making it difficult for me to focus on my work, with all of the background noise erupting behind me. The beauty of the library is that there are far fewer distractions, because people who are going to a library are looking for a quiet study place. 

The implications of longer library hours go farther than just allowing students to find a quiet space to work — it can ultimately help Paly bridge its widening achievement gap by providing equity to students of lower socioeconomic status through its resources.

However, this is much easier said than done. According to Paly librarian Ms. Thomas, there is simply not enough staff to keep the library open after 5. She already works the entire day as it is, and it would be quite a bit to ask for her to work even more hours. Paly also has to align with the library hours at GUNN as well. So, while this may be a good idea, it will simply not be able to translate to the real-world unless the library gets more staff, who are willing to work late into the night. 

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