Students voice concerns about loss of library
May 12, 2015
The Park City Board of Education’s recent decision to allow the district to renovate the high school media center means the Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies will have a home for next year and the foreseeable future.
But some students are worried it also means they’ll be losing theirs.
Maggie Haynes, a ninth-grader at Treasure Mountain Junior High, said many students congregate in the junior high’s library to read, study, research and socialize. She is worried about moving to a school next year that won’t have that space, saying it’s unfair to take away the library and give it to the PCCAPS program.
"That is a place we use for studying and to de-stress from our very stressful lives," she said. "When I’m walking out in the halls, I feel so awkward, like I have no one to talk to. Then I can just go the library and everyone there is so nice and welcoming. It just feels like a little family."
The district has maintained that the renovated media center — which will cost up to $200,000 and be modeled like a cyber café with collaborative spaces — will be accessible to all students, not just those in the PCCAPS program. Superintendent Ember Conley previously told The Park Record PCCAPS will use the space for two periods, while it will be open to the student body for the other six periods.
But Abigail Burfitt, also a ninth-grader at Treasure Mountain Junior High, remains skeptical. She said the Board of Education doesn’t understand the function of a school library and what it means to students.
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"Us students are the ones who actually use the library, not them," she said. "And they’re making this decision without our input. They sit around a table and make decisions, but we use these places. We spend eight hours a day or more at school. We should have a place to go during this time and the library is that place. It’s the heart of our school."
Multiple members of the Board of Education did not return calls seeking comment.
Haynes and Burfitt are also disappointed they will not have access to many of the physical books currently in the library. The district has said it hopes to partner with local libraries to provide some of the books, and is working to provide others in an e-book format.
Conley had told The Park Record that not providing as many physical copies of books reflects a shift in education and how students consume learning material.
Haynes disagreed, saying she is worried spending too much time looking at a computer or tablet screen is harmful to the eyes and, if done late at night, can interrupt sleep schedules.
"Who would want to read a book on a laptop?" she added. "You can’t snuggle up with a good laptop."
Carlos Pizano, a junior at the high school, agreed that students will be worse off without access to all of the books in the library.
"They’re getting rid of my library for PCCAPS," he said. "I love sitting down with a good book for a couple hours and getting locked in. I don’t want to see my library turn into something electronic where you sit down and download a book."
He added that many other students feel the same way.
"There are a lot of students who are very frustrated," he said. "It’s like, ‘Why would they go and take away our books? It makes no sense.’ I’m a little mad about the situation."