Over the past three months, we’ve been lulled by the quiet drone of mosquitoes. With fall comes the constant chirping of crickets, school announcements, and the ringing of bells.
This change of rhythm brings new students and a reminder of the relationship between the school and the library. Our job at the library is to serve all of our patrons to the best of our ability. This often means a wonderful mixture of generations throughout the day. It can also mean a bit more noise and the potential for a bit less privacy and safety.
Luckily, we have solutions for almost any situation.
- Each quarter, we put out flyers that outline our programming. These Meinders Happenings are a great guide for teachers, students, and the public to understand when our library might be louder than usual. Staff can also help pinpoint which times might be quieter and more conducive to your needs.
- During the day, we are open to the public and the school simultaneously. As such, our staff works together to keep everyone as safe as possible. If our school has a fire drill, so does the library. All patrons are expected to follow emergency protocol as directed by the librarians at all times. Depending on the circumstances, this may result in patrons leaving the building for a period of time or hunkering down in place.
- As a combined library, we try to anticipate and accommodate the changing needs of all our patrons. We have different types of spaces for different purposes. Adult computers are located away from child computers for privacy and safety. Some tables are located in quiet places for independent learning, while other spots have a more relaxed and collaborative feel. These spaces can be fluid during different times of the day. I see this as a wonderful opportunity for youth and adults to recognize and understand the dynamics of a multi-generational, multi-use space.
- Hands down my biggest concern at the library is our parking lot. On a good day, it is tight and squishy, and I’ve personally seen enough fender benders to last me a lifetime. In fact, my own truck has fallen victim to a hit and run sideswipe. On a bad day, students pour out the library doors to get picked up in this already tight and squishy space that is suddenly filled with moving vehicles. This creates a huge risk for all involved. It is the #1 reason why the library parking lot is not a designated pick up spot for students.
- Having a public library attached to the school can be a bit confusing sometimes. Over the summer, the doors were labeled to help with emergency situations. As they installed the Q over the library door, I learned our building has 26 doors. Only one set of them provides access to the school during the day. Individuals visiting the school can enter through the circle drive doors on the east side of the building. For the safety of students and staff, the school cannot be accessed during the day from the library.
- With school in session, we have quite a few students who spend their after school hours in the library. We love that they love to be here. If your student will be spending time in the library, please create a communication plan with your child as well as with library staff. Make sure the library has updated phone numbers in case of an emergency. Also, please familiarize yourself with our policies, keeping in mind that we cannot act in loco perentis. Also, our hours are posted online, as well as on the door of the library. When it is time for us to close, all patrons will be asked to leave.
While I’m not quite ready for the end of summer, I’m excited to see our halls fill up again with our community’s kids. It might take a few weeks for us all to get back in the swing of things and remember the things we forgot. I can handle that. It’s the crickets I don’t like.