Student voice welcomed in the library

Some may be frustrated by the seemingly small collection of books in the library, but you can do something about it


Dakota Latham

Decisions, decisions: sophomore Mackenzie Dunkin searches for a book in the Lake Stevens High School library. The LSHS library has nineteen sections, split onto the second and third floors of the East building. “My favorite thing about our library is probably the way it’s set up. I really like how each shelf is a different genre,” sophomore Katie Cook said.

According to Kit Shanholtzer, the LSHS librarian, renovations done in the library halved the amount of total books from 24,000 to 12,000. But has this really taken a toll on the students? And more importantly, has this impacted the overall quality of the library?

“I don’t find everything because the books I want to read aren’t there… new young adult releases [and] classic literature usually aren’t there. If there’s anything I want to see more, it is more new release young adult books, and a lot more copies of classics,” sophomore Katie Cook said.

Many other students around the school feel similarly. 

“While it may seem odd, a strong library is not determined by the number of books it has, there is lots of evidence that a finely curated collection increases circulation because too many options can be confusing, can lead students to books that they won’t like, etc. Basically, librarians are tasked with removing books as they get new ones to keep the collection current and reflective of the student population,” Hanna Hermes, the librarian at Cavelero, said.

For students who are searching for books not yet added to the library, Shanholtzer will take book purchase recommendations (much like Hermes offered students at Cavelero). Not many students know this, but this opportunity will give students the chance to read a book they are interested in, and expands the collection that is already available.

“I don’t want there to be any barriers from them having a passion for finding out about themselves, or about other cultures, civilizations and ethnicities,” Shanholtzer said.

The LSHS library is split into a total of nineteen sections: graphic novels, dystopian, adventure, science fiction, horror, romance, non-fiction, biographies, and many more. This new layout allows students to find books with similar topics or based on their interests easily.

Confusion surrounding books that are labeled as “lost” in the Destiny Discover system has also raised some concern from students. According to Shanholtzer, this does not necessarily mean that the LSHS library doesn’t have a copy of the book. Books that haven’t been turned in on time will automatically be marked as a “lost” book. Keep this in mind when using the website. The easiest thing to do is ask if there are any questions regarding a book’s status in the library.

While the library is primarily for checking out books, there are also a number of resources that all students are able to access at any time. Tutoring for any subject is available during the school day, or is offered after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:45-4:00 pm. Textbooks are available for checkout, and charging stations are spread throughout and on every table.

Aside from academic use, the tables can be moved around, there is plenty of comfortable seating throughout the library, and the TVs can be used by students if wanted – in the library, but also on the learning stairs.

“Two years ago, I set some kids up on learning stairs with their switch, and they played on all the big screens,” Shanholtzer continued on to say, “We’re not just academics… this is their [student] space.”