Media Center Madness

By now, many students have noticed the new Media Center policy, and it hasn’t exactly been greeted with a lot of excitement. While many students recognize that there have been issues in the past in terms of overcrowding and rowdiness, the new policy has fostered feelings of frustration and powerlessness among the student body as a whole.


The online sign up policy that limits the number of students to 30 each period everyday is great – for those who get one of the coveted spots. Those who forget to sign up or sign up too late, have few options to escape the foyer and must simply hope to get in the next week. A person’s need for library resources or difficulty concentrating in the foyer is not taken account when the list is made; it’s based solely on timing. There are no privileges extended to seniors, sports players, students who work after school, or those who need the resources provided in the library for projects or papers. Those who study diligently and quietly have the same chance of getting in as those who goof off and only create a distraction for others.


The foyer, although it has improved with the addition of more comfortable seating, is not the ideal studying space. As many exasperated students know, it is far more populated, decidedly more noisy, more susceptible to the weather, and very far away from academic rooms. It pales in comparison to the brightly lit, well equipped Media Center filled with books and computers.


Although we have a BYOD program that is really useful for quick online turn-ins or games of ‘Kahoot’, the idea of bringing an expensive laptop to school for one period each day is completely unfeasible for most students. Having Chromebooks down in the foyer would alleviate some issues, but there are still many advantages that come with the more powerful, larger screen computers found in the Media Center. The computer issue will become obsolete as more students come up from the middle schools with Chromebooks, but for now, computers are spread thin.


So, what is the best thing to be done?


One excellent proposal would be to go on a month to month basis, with a short application to create a master list for the month. This could be completely electronic, making it easy for the Media Center staff to prioritize those who really need the space.


There are a few ways to achieve this, but a Google form would be the best to organize and prioritize correctly. Instead of simply filling out their names, students should be able to enter the number of Honors/AP classes that they are taking and the average amount of time they have at home to do homework after school for that month. This is to accommodate the expectation that work times, club activities, hobbies and sports may change on a monthly basis that leaves students with different amounts of homework-designated times during different time periods. Instead of 30 kids, it may be better to open it up to a larger number of students and then prioritize those who really need study time.


If there are any problems in the Media Center with students not behaving or not being productive, then they can be put on a list of students who are not allowed in the Media Center for the rest of the month due to poor behavior. Therefore, offenders can be given a second chance next month, but will have to suffer without access to the Media Center for the remainder of the current one.


There is the possibility that students will get into the habit of signing up online and that it will eventually work seamlessly, with some students in the foyer and others who really need quiet, resourceful study time ending up in the Media Center. For now, students will have to remember to sign up on Sunday nights and stay focused regardless of where they are studying.