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Librarians defend policy

A new paradigm is operating at Marlborough this year, particularly in the Academic Resource Center.  The word “library” has been taken out of our vocabulary, and the place where we keep the books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs, is not being treated like a library in the traditional sense.  Instead, we are trying something new.  Increased collaboration among students has brought more noise in the ARC, where that collaboration is encouraged to take place.

All across the country, traditional libraries are changing in many different ways.  Technology has made information access easy, and because of the Internet and “Googling,” many people can now research their own information without the help of a librarian and never step foot inside a library. For the last dozen years, libraries have been losing patrons.  As a result, librarians are trying to think up new ways to bring people back.

One of the chief ways libraries have changed to appeal to a broad range of people is to relax some of the old strictures, such as no talking.  Along with this has come a new idea about how patrons can use the library.  Many new trends are appearing in public and private libraries, such as allowing gaming, free wifi, concerts, bringing in the bookstore model for displaying books, and the coffeehouse atmosphere, just to name a few.  The idea that you can go into a library and sit in a quiet place to study alone is a reality in many libraries still today, but the trend is moving away from that in high schools.

In an effort to innovate, Marlborough changed the name of its “library” to the “Academic Resource Center” to indicate that our school is combining traditional learning through print resources with electronic learning tools.  The other part of that change is the idea that because so much learning is being done by computer, students aren’t using the old library just for book learning.  The ARC is being used in a different way:  students are spending more time collaborating with each other on school assignments and using computers for social networking and sharing information.  Whispering is certainly not out of vogue here in the ARC, but when students need to work together, chances are the whispering may turn into talking.

We would also like to see students take responsibility for monitoring the noise level themselves.  If you continue to find the noise level too loud, please find one of the seven ARC staff members, and we will help you.


Maggie Michaelson, Nikki Gomez