Katz Meow: Library Culture and Upcoming Changes

Ella Katz There are many definitions of a Library. There’s the Google definition, “a building or room containing a collection of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow, or refer to,” and there is the typical high school or collegiate definition, a quiet space to study for exams (in some cases until 4am) and complete nightly assignments. Then, of course, there is Latin’s definition of a library: a social space to hangout, learn the lifestyle of true procrastination, pig out, “bump spotify”, and maybe do a few practice math problems— emphasis on the maybe.   There is never a school day where I don’t go to the library. Whether it is to study for a next-block Politics Quiz, take a nap in the comfy chairs under Sophie Woan’s life-changing plush blanket (stored in her locker at the end of the senior hallway), or watch Eli Bucksbaum chug a gallon of Apple Juice to make my Monday better than my Friday, the lib (pronounced l-ih-b not l-iy-b) is where it’s at. As Senior Ian Cahr puts it, “The Library has become a senior-common space. It is always alive, which often makes it hard to be productive, but regardless, it’s a good time.” Although you will often hear Ms. Metzler telling the upper level to quiet down, dancing it out in the big conference room to some Cardi B or Travis Scott for the 5 minutes between B and C block is life changing—just ask Henry Stein-Krause. One might even question why we call this space a Library— we might as well call it a second cafeteria, the Roman kiosk pt.2, or even perhaps a seventh grade bat mitzvah mosh pit. Last school year, students were not allowed to eat in the Library. I’m not sure if we are actually allowed to do so this year, but to be completely honest, I have only had one siracha-mayo-sandwich-lunch in the cafeteria in the past two months. It’s out of control, I know. You will find many upperclassmen getting their lunch to go, seniors in particular. And you may find that the cafeteria is unusually empty in the weeks to come— seniors are applying to college— so no time is free time. There are plans for the coming school year to renovate the library and cafeteria space on the fourth floor. They’re titling the space “The Learning Commons” and it will be Latin’s new space for eating, studying, and everything in between. To gain more insight, I met with Ms. Rodriguez, who explained that “last year, the current sophomore class was the largest class in the school—we had 127 freshmen. The first place where we saw the impact of that class was in the cafeteria. Lines were crazy, and students were not having time to eat. While we did open up the Roman kiosk, it could only help so much. Students were having to leave campus to get food; we were getting calls from parents of students who didn’t have time to eat—it was a hot mess.” Ms. Rodriguez said this building tension was “what started the conversation. However, it was always a part of our facilities master plan to redo the cafeteria space… the Middle School and Upper School were all in this building only 10 short years ago, and the Cafeteria was built in the 1960s.” It’s become necessary that we adapt the limited space we have to accommodate the amount of students now attending Latin. While room 409 doesn’t seem to fit the standard definition of a Library, Latin’s constantly buzzing space that we call one fosters community and collaboration in the student body. Although you may often find that students in this space are eating fried rice instead of studying for Physics, Latin students have no shortage of studying— even if that means the Library isn’t exactly what it’s supposed to be. ]]>