Staff defends library hours

The doors to Severinghaus Library – photo by Sebastian Bilash ’20

Once students are dismissed from their final class after a long school day, they turn to school responsibilities ranging from athletics to the arts to academic extracurriculars. Many of these activities take place on campus. A student may have wrestling practice from 3:30 to 5:30, then later on that same night, he has play practice from 7:30 to 9:00. Where should that student go to make the most of those two hours in between?

     Many students think the library should be that place, but the library closes at 4:30. Many students need somewhere to do homework, study, or just hang out in the late afternoon. Still, there are obvious limits to the facilities.

“Prior to and after [school] hours, you can’t expect that people are supervising kids.”

Head of Information Services Ms. Lisa Snyder

     Head of Information Services Ms. Lisa Snyder said, “The school hours are from 8:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Those are the hours that you expect supervision. Prior to and after those hours, you can’t expect that people are supervising kids.”

     Supervision is a virtue that the school and specifically the librarians value greatly.

     “We just need to make sure that everybody who’s here is safe and feels safe,”  Ms. Snyder said. “We can have young boys in here that are 10 or 11 or we can have an 18 or 19-year old in the same space. We have to make sure that the younger boy doesn’t feel threatened or nervous because of older boys talking about things that they don’t know about…That’s why we wouldn’t unlock the space without adults in here.”

     Middle School librarian Mr. Joshua Newman agreed.

     “I really have a trust and respect for the Haverford student body, but at the same time you have to think about what would be bad scenario here that we would seek to avoid,” Mr. Newman said.

Library hours posted online – photo by Sebastian Bilash ’20

     The librarians notice the problem that a handful of students do not have a place to study once the library closes.

     “At the end of the day there are people usually up in the corner by the English classroom that is upstairs and there might be one or two people by the windows and then maybe one or two people downstairs,” Mr. Newman said.  “Of course, when people are doing work, that is valuable to us and that’s what we need. So, it gets to be a difficult thing [to ask those remaining to leave around 4:30].”

     This brings up a larger issue as to where students should go when they have time to kill in the afternoon.

“I wish that there was a better place where kids could go and just hang out. I think that might solve some of the problems.”

Head of Information Services Ms. Lisa Snyder

     Ms. Snyder said, “I wish that there was a better place where kids could go and just hang out. I think that might solve some of the problems. Because there are no places for kids to hang out, the library became that, and we encouraged it. We invited a lot of this activity in here, but at the same time it would be awesome if some of that lounge kind of stuff was elsewhere.”

Author: Ryan Rodack '22

Arts Editor Ryan Rodack is in his second year working on The Index. He previously covered sports.