Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mornings in the library {solsc day 2}

I belong to several librarian list-serves.  These are great for staying in the loop, getting quick answers to posed questions, and learning new and different ways of accomplishing work-related tasks.  Once a year one of them even has a Thanksgiving recipe exchange, which is fun and a great way to build community.

Yesterday someone posted a question about whether or not it is a good idea to open your library before school.  I was surprised at the back-and-forth on this question to tell you the truth.  For me, this answer is an absolute YES, and it was interesting to see different perspectives.

Mornings in the library have actually been on my mind quite a lot lately.  We've recently learned that our start time will change next school year---we are flipping with the middle school start time so that my high school kids will have their first period begin at 7:30 am.

I don't mind the early mornings, and despite the brain research on teenagers (which is why the high school flipped times with the middle schools about 10 years ago), we haven't seen a surge in learning based upon school starting an hour later.  I know many of our kids need to work and an earlier start time means an earlier end time which helps them out.  I get all of these things, I really do.  But...

Mornings in my library are special and I'm going to miss them. We've built a little (well, big, actually) morning library family.  So many kids want in the library each morning that I have a literal bouncer (he's a senior now, so I guess he'll go down in history as our only bouncer) and once we have a pretty full house you must have a special morning pass to enter.  I'm talking about 200 kids each morning, y'all.

I arrive about 7:15 every morning.  I'm met by a group of between 10-15 students every morning.

We have two groups of intense chess players.  Sometimes one hides the others favorite pieces and the search is on to find them.  Sometimes I hear a loudish anguished cry from the back of the room--and when I hustle back to investigate I learn a queen has been taken in the heat of the game and "Miss, this game is intense---I couldn't help letting out that scream." We had a kid donate a beautiful glass chess set to the library this week so more kids can play.  This makes our third set and we could probably use more.

We have two guys who often bring their acoustic guitars.  They sit in the back playing beautiful music. Sometimes classical, sometimes classic rock.  They draw a crowd that ebbs and flows around them.  It is magical.

We have some gamers, some card players, some calculus student groups, a large group of band kids, some swimmers, some quiet readers, some not-so-quiet checkers players.  We have a few trying to get the last few winks in before 1st period on our bean bag chairs or couches, some doing each other's makeup, and some kids finishing up projects using our printer & student supplies.  We have some who color their stress away each morning, and some who just hang out.

I wander this library landscape, but I'm not lost.  I say Good Morning and How's your mama doing?and I'm so proud of you and Will you cut that out? They say Hey, Mrs. Schulz, how's it going? and Anything I can help you with? and AH! He stole my queen! and Thanks for making this our place.

What we have friends, is a morning library family

This is what I'll miss with our new start time.
And yes, we'll be open after school---but band and sports and club activities will likely fill in those after-school hours as they do right now.

And we'll grow into the change-- as we must.
I'll remember these lovely mornings and that which once was.


  1. Wow! I love this! I take my grandsons to the local public library and we have so much fun there. There is more to libraries than just books!

    1. Thank you, Joyce! <3 I couldn't agree more!

  2. I had a heartfelt comment written but it didn't post for some reason :( Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience with the kids! I love that all the cliques find their sacred space to blossom together and connect before a (sometimes stressful) busy day at school. I used to hang out at the library a lot when I was as growing up & all throughout adulthood - but there was definitely a lack of community -- I would have loved something like this growing up! I hope this article gives birth to many ther libraries holding space for all ages. This is so beautiful. There's something truly magical about libraries, isn't there?

    1. Thank you, Maya! <3 yes--an absolutely magical space!