The High School Library is Back in Business: Everything You Need to Know


Photo by Alison Mckeough

We checked in with our high school librarians to talk about plans to open the library to classes amid our current health and safety regulations.

School does not look the same as it used to. There is no more eating in the cafeteria, no staying after school, and unfortunately, no browsing of books in the school’s library. Pat-Med’s library has always been a place where you could finish up homework in a calming and quiet setting, borrow a computer to print out an assignment, borrow the book you had your eyes set on, and so much more. Unfortunately, with the new guidelines set in place the library is not running like it used to. This is a time of great confusion and while it is not certain what the library will look like in a few weeks, if you want to update yourself on what is operating in the library now, you have come to the right place. I had the honor to interview our school’s librarians, Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga, to ask them questions on the changes that have been made to the library, and what measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of all students. 

Me: Is the library officially open? Can people physically go in, or are there restrictions being put in place? 

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: The library is not open for independent users or classes.  Hopefully in the next few weeks we will start seeing classes on a very limited basis.

Me: What procedures are being put in place to increase the safety of those who want to borrow books?  

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: You can now take out a book through our reserve system.  There is a video, with instructions, placed on our Schoology page.

Me: Previously people used to be able to peruse the shelves to look for a book that piked their interest. Is that still allowed? If not, what are some other ways students can find out what books are available and that might be of interest to them? 

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: You currently may not peruse the shelves for books.  The instructional video demonstrates how to do a detailed search using our electronic catalog.  

Me: For students who are first time readers or do not know what to search for, is there a way to get recommendations?  

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: Yes, we can always be reached through email, and love recommending books.  We also will have a weekly newsletter posted on Schoology with some great book recommendations.

Me: If a student wants to borrow a book, how would they go about that? Would they need to place a hold? How will they know when and where to pick it up? 

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: Students can reserve the book through our library catalog.  We pull the book, with gloves on, sanitize it and place on our reserve table.  We send the student a notice to come pick up the book.

Me: After a student returns a book, what are the cleaning measures being put in place to ensure the safety of the next person who borrows the same book? 

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: We have 2 boxes for returns.  Once a book is returned it sits in the box for 3 days.  After the 3 days the book is sanitized and placed back on the shelf.

Me: The library used to offer many services, such as laptop borrowing, are those same services still available? If not, what do you recommend to students who relied on these services? Are there any new services available?  

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: Students are currently not permitted to use laptops.  The public library has many computers available.  There also is a loaner program that the district has implemented.  Students should reach out to their guidance counselors if they require these services.  The library has been designated a computer help location, so any students struggling with password issues, Schoology, or any other technology issues can reach out to the library for help.

Me: What do you want to say to those who may be hesitant to check out books for their safety? Any words of encouragement?  

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: Yes, please do not worry.  We are eager for students to be able to check out books, and we take extreme safety precautions.

Me: For those who have never used the library before, or do not usually check out books, what would you say to them? Why do you believe reading is beneficial and/or enjoyable?  

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: The library strives to have a great collection that allows every student to find a great book to read.  We also have a substantial number of non-fiction books to help with any school assignments that you may have.

Me: Is there anything else you believe people should know about the library’s reopening? 

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: We want people to know that we are trying our best to accommodate students under the current climate.  We will continue to work to have our library back to normal function in the near future.

Me: Lastly, what is the best way to contact you with any questions?  

Mrs. Lukemire and Mrs. Warga: We can be reached by email or phone.  Kelly Lukemire: [email protected]     Regina Warga: [email protected]      Phone : (631)687-6855.