Library is more than just a place to check out books

Facility is open before and after school for variety of services


Gracie Carr

Before school on Aug. 15, a group of freshman boys gathers in the library. The library opens each morning at 7.

Tobin Bradshaw, Reporter

Although the school library is part of the Indianapolis Public Library system, you might be hard pressed to find one like it anywhere else.

In addition to simply checking out books, the library serves as “a meeting and gathering place during flex,” according to librarian and media specialist Mrs. Jenny Herron, who added that students go there “to print, to check on homework with friends, to visit technology, (to take) care of iPad or lanyard issues, to check out a book, or just relax during free time.”

For about 60 people, the library serves as a great spot to hang out during flex. And, unlike the traditional idea of a quiet library, you don’t need to be quiet in the library during flex.

Herron said, “We used to try it, but it’s such a transient period. There’s a lot of traffic in and out, especially during flex. We gave up. But the rest of the day it is a silent academic period.”

But this could change. Herron said, “We’re thinking of having days 2 and 5 be silent reading days (this) year.”

However, the library isn’t only a fun place to hang out before, during and after school. It is also a place to work on homework, especially for writing papers. Herron said, “We can sit with you with your research topic and within five minutes have five excellent research pieces that your teacher will love.”

Also, Herron said she can help with citations and works cited. To get assistance with a paper, students can contact anyone in the library staff, both her and library assistant Miss Alana Cataldo.

The library also provides streaming services for movies and TV. Both can be accessed through portals in the library website. Herron said one service is called Kanopy and the other is Hoopla. Herron said, “I would (suggest) Kanopy for movies but Hoopla for shows.” Also, rather than a subscription fee like Netflix, all you need is your library card.

Since Herron became the media specialist here in 2013, she has made some changes to the library, including more comfortable and collaborative seating. And Herron has made reading for fun more accessible and rewarding.

Technology has changed the collection current stored in the library. Herron said, “I have weeded out much of the non-fiction titles because students’ research is more online based. I have tried to focus more on fiction reading for pleasure.”

To encourage this increase in reading, Herron created a program called 5 by 5/5, and it has provided an incentive for several years.

To sign up, you only need to go to the front desk of the library and tell them your name. After that, students can report the books they read from Jan. 1 to May 15 And, if they read five books by May 5, they get a free catered lunch with all 5 by 5/5 participants. Last year, 64 students and teachers took part in the program.

While most people spend time in the library during flex or resource, Herron said the library is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays. “We are the only school I know of that is open so late,” she said.

After learning all of the best ways to utilize the library, the only question is: What can’t you do in the library? You can’t be on your phone during school hours or eat food in the library. Other than those two rules, the library is there for your enjoyment.