SHS Library Norms Intended to Protect Students


Lindsey Hausmann and Ava Easterly

At Scituate High School, the library serves many different purposes other than storing books. Students utilize the library to attend meetings, study, and collaborate on group projects. SHS librarian Tracey Newman keeps this library space productive and inclusive for all students through a strict set of rules put in place by the administration. 

Newman has established systems to make the library more accessible to students. Establishing a new way to check out books that makes it easier for students, her “self-serve checkout” allows students to “fill out a slip, put it in the box, and it will be checked out for you.” Students are then allowed to keep the book in their possession for two-week periods with unlimited renewals. But if a student loses the book, “they must pay to replace it.” So keep track of your books and return them when prompted to!

For students in studies, Newman said she has “built upon the routines” that she attempted to enforce last year. Students must go to study hall first, check in, and only then are they allowed to go to the library and check in with Newman. The new policy this year means “students must stay here [the library] the whole period if they chose to leave their study.” Previously, students had been known to abuse this privilege–using the library as a filler location to then go to an alternate destination within the school. This trend posed issues with attendance and compromised student safety. 

To keep track of the students in the library at a given time, students must sign in on the Chromebook located at the circulation desk. When students approach said Chromebook, they are met with a spreadsheet prompting them to enter their first and last name as well as their time of arrival. This spreadsheet is shared with all Scituate staff, including study teachers, administration, and guidance. This is just one example of many library policies that create accountability and safety among Scituate students. 

This year, Newman does not permit food in the library, saying, “We have a lot of kids with a variety of allergies,” and “we want everyone to be safe.” 

One way Newman has taken it upon herself to protect those students with food allergies is by providing disinfecting wipes for those who enter the library. If Newman finds an attendee indulging in a study snack, she will promptly approach the student with wipe in hand, explaining, “If someone eats something in here, I will walk over with baby wipes and ask them to wipe their hands, because hand sanitizer isn’t going to get all the oils off that have been on the food.” Part of being a top-tier librarian and role model is being proactive, not reactive– teaching active members of the SHS community about how to protect themselves and others.  

According to SHS junior Sarah Gillis, “The library policies force students to be productive and get their work done.” Sophomore Cici Griffin stands by this statement as well but has slight reservations about the capacity in which these policies are being enforced. Griffin expressed how she would “enjoy eating in the library,” but understands the risks and reasons behind the regulations. 

Moving forward, the SHS library will continue to be not only a workspace, but also a safe place for all students.