The Role of Libraries in Modern High Schools

Since Internet use has become widespread, the role of libraries in high schools has undergone a major shift. Many older adults have fond and not-so-fond memories of poring through large reference books to find information needed for school projects. Nowadays, however, most high school students do the bulk of their research on the Internet. Although libraries are no longer being used for the same things that they once were, the library still has a number of uses for the average high school student.

Computer access

Students are seeking the use of computers more and more these days for informational and recreational purposes; fortunately, nearly all high school libraries are equipped with computers. Short of tucking a smartphone under a binder, the only way that students can access the Internet or do anything else computer-related during school hours is through the library or a computer lab, and since many smaller schools lack public computer labs, the library is the best thing that most students have. Whether they want to look up a few Spanish words or play an Internet game (depending on the school’s rules), the library can help them.

A place to work

Whether their schoolwork is online or off, if students need a quiet place to catch up on assignments, they can go to the library. While it is certainly possible to get started on homework or do a few problems in class or after lunch in a crowded cafeteria, these locations simply won’t cut the mustard if a student has a larger project and needs to focus. The library is especially handy if a student needs to wrap up a project that should have been completed the night before and only has fifteen minutes or so at the end of a lunch period.

A source of reading material

Contrary to popular belief, some young people still read for fun. The trouble is that, with so many different avenues of entertainment open to them, they may not see the point in spending the money to buy books that they may only read once. Moreover, even if the city in which a student lives has a public library, he or she may not be motivated to go there just to get a few books. This is where the having a collection of free books right there in the school comes in handy. Having a variety of reading material available encourages students to read.

Research options

In a way, the high school library still serves the same function that it has in years past: it offers students a starting point for their school-related research. The difference is that most of this research is now done on the library’s computers. However, even in modern times, books remain a viable source of information for research. Not only do some teachers require the use of books as sources, but books often provide dense and in-depth information that is difficult to find on the Internet.

Some might say that libraries have taken on a diminished role in the modern high school. It is true that libraries are not used as much for the same things as they once were. However, high school libraries continue to be an indispensable asset for students.