Where to Study?

Chloe Do '25, Staff Writer

You walk into Dexter Southfield school, bright and early, the crisp morning air leaving the faintest shivers on your skin. The jarring bright lights of the Clay Center try their best to wake you and make you forget the warm comfort of your bed. It’s Thursday X-Block, and you head to your favorite place. Walking through the halls of the lunchroom, you laugh at your classmates struggling to finish last minute assignments and wave hello to teachers passing by. Finally, you reach it… 

The faintest hint of vanilla and the typical scent of new books hit your senses. The place is a stark contrast to the harsh glare you were just overwhelmed by; the warm glow of the lights settles you back into that dreamlike state. 

There it is, your favorite, cozy nook hidden away in the corner of the new library! You’ve started going here whenever you can. It’s a reprieve from the loud noise often accompanied by high schoolers. Many students come to grab a spare textbook, read a book, or study, and you are no exception. 

You settle down, open your computer, and get to work. 

Except, this reader’s fantasy is yet to be realized. 

Throughout the ninety-six years since the founding of Dexter Southfield, there has never been a library, excluding the Senior Lounge. Although the Senior Lounge is a similar equivalent to a library, it is restricted and many people confess that the books are old and untouched, sitting on the mantelpiece, collecting dust.  

Helen Yang ‘25 said, “[The Senior Lounge] is not for me, so it doesn’t really matter. And I don’t even know what it will look like two years later when I can use it.” If this is the only library in the entire upper school, then why is it restricted to only a fourth of Upper School students? Although important for seniors to enjoy a commonplace for themselves, it is vital for all students to have a shared space for research and simply a designated quiet place. 

Upon visiting a library, many subconsciously associate the place as a quiet, academic-focused environment. It also eliminates distractions, since it is a quiet place. The atmosphere immediately puts someone in the mindset to get work done. Furthermore, if someone needed help, they could easily ask their classmates around them. 

There are many benefits to having a library. Commonly, students use the internet and online articles for their essays. The addition of a library would give students and faculty an opportunity to explore different resources.  

The library is not just a place to study, however. Students can come to relax and enjoy a peace of mind in the comforting atmosphere or pick up a new book to read.  

Although many have been advocating for a library for years, there are important questions to consider. Like anything, there are pros and cons. If the school does introduce a library, will it be for everyone? Or will it be restricted, as with the Senior Lounge that is only for seniors? Will the library only be for high school, or for all grade levels?  

Though having the place for everyone allows for a better sense of community, it may be chaotic and challenging. For this, Mr. Booth mentions that there is a future potential virtual library in the works. This would allow students easily accessible resources for projects, essays, and other assignments and opens the window for new opportunities. 

However, many still believe that having a physical library has its benefits. Upon interviewing my local librarian on their opinion of having solely a virtual library, they stated, “I’m against that because I like would like people to have physical places to go to for a library, and I feel which digital material—which is great, especially in a digital world right now—can’t always answer your questions, when someone (like a classmate or teacher) can… and nothing beats more than holding something, like having it in your hand and flipping to page 59… So, I think physical is better because it’s also a quiet space or even like a social space.” 

In a perfect world, there would be both a digital and physical space for students, as some prefer hands on learning, and the feeling of turning the pages, while others prefer the quick, condensed information a virtual resource provides. 

While talking to Mr. Booth, he also encouraged ideas and asked where a library could be built. Upon reflecting on it later, the Student Center may prove to be a great library space. Many students there hang around to study during their free blocks either way, so turning the rather empty room into a library by adding bookshelves may prove beneficial and worthwhile.