After months of work, the new library at Nantucket High School is finally complete. The library stretches down the length of a large portion of the building, taking up around 700 square feet, pooling at the high school end in a large room that presses up against an entire wall of glass windows. From the outside, all you can see is a few tables and the carpeting; however, the library contains far more. There are a series of cubicles just offset from one wall for privacy, and the other wall is dotted with small recesses that function as conference rooms. The Veritas room was relocated to the corner office of the high school side of the library, replacing the old teacher work room. The library also contains dozens of tables and comfortable chairs with a sleek modern design that is an undeniable improvement from the library’s previous look.
In a sort of ironic twist of fate, there aren’t many books in the library yet, and it feels more like a lounge than anything at the moment. However, this isn’t for a lack of books, but for lack of bookshelves, and eventually the space will again be filled with reading materials. Once this is accomplished, and bookshelves have been added to the space and filled, the library will feel much more like a library. The atmosphere will be complete.
Well, not quite. There are also plans to add a cafe to the library, which was in fact one of the most widely desired aspects of the extensive renovations. This addition of a cafe will allow students to buy food and coffee while browsing books and accessing the many other resources the library has to offer. They will also be able to buy coffee on school premises, which will make the process easier. It will take a lot less time and effort to buy coffee from a cafe in the library than from a shop outside of the school, and will be accessible to all students.
This plan to add a cafe is in contrast to policies the library has had in the past that have kept food outside of the space in an attempt to limit damage to books. Now, the idea is to make kids feel more at home in the library by providing them with coffee and other goods. Many students at the school already buy coffee before coming to learn, and some feel the addition of a cafe would be welcome. It could take away some of the stress of possibly being late to school, as well as giving the school a more welcoming feel.
However, not everyone is enthused about the changes that have made been made to the library. One student, who asked to remain anonymous, certainly felt differently.
“I would much rather have just had [the library] open all year.” The anonymous student said. “I didn’t feel like there had to be any, you know, improvements made. It seemed fine. Plus, I don’t think anyone’s going to use the cafe. They want their coffee from whatever place they’re getting it and they aren’t going to stop getting there just because there’s another option… waste of money we could have spent on actually needed improvements.”
However, in general the mood around the library and the improvements that have been made to it in efforts to modernize it and, eventually, add the cafe, is a positive one. There are almost always at least a few students using the space before and after school, whether it is for studying or just to hang out. A lot of students also frequent the library at lunch time, catching up on work they have fallen behind on in the individual cubicles, or quietly conversing at the more communal tables.
Whatever you feel about the improvements, they are now completed, and the library is open for students to do work, study, access library materials, and maybe at some point in the future, even drink a coffee.
By JohnCarl McGrady