“No Printing in the Library” is a familiar sign to Brooklyn Tech students. This year, however, the printer was taken away entirely and printing services were relocated to 7N9, finally providing a solution for hundreds of students that needed in-school printing. Even so, our library is known for its various technical problems—the computers are often unusable and sometimes the entire scanning system crashes, which prevents us from taking out books and other materials.
Mr. Asher oversaw the recent re-furnishing of the library. Since last spring the library has had new tables and chairs to accommodate more students. But in the process, he also canceled all of the school’s periodical subscriptions, referring to them as “outdated.” Important newspapers such as The New York Times and medicine periodicals are no longer available for students to use for their assignments, something which has upset many seeing as how there are several teachers who ask for printed newspaper sources for their assignments.
And though Mr. Asher promotes the movement to digitalize the school, the library has been neglected. “If we’re lucky, seven out of twelve computers are up and running” comments a librarian. The tech squad will sometimes come in to try and fix them, but what they do is only temporary before the computers break again. What they do then is switch out the computer for an equally old one. For a school of over 5,000, with 1,000 students in a single lunch period, 12 outdated and often broken computers are simply not enough: “I believe students deserve to have a better, up-to-date technological library” says Mr. Grandt, one of the librarians. Junior Lisa Starikov agrees, “I go there to try to find some information online or in a textbook or something, but I can do neither because the computers don’t work and the reference section is outdated and understocked. It’s completely contrary to what a library should be.”
Students aren’t the only ones steering clear of the library. Teachers, who sometimes use the older books to teach their classes, avoid staying there. “More tables means more kids,” says Mrs. Laudi, “and there are not enough librarians to watch over them. We are beyond capacity six periods a day.”
Students and teachers alike believe that the library needs more publicity. People need to learn to appreciate the library, something that Mr. Williams is trying to raise remediate by having more speakers and more events held in the library. An “Appreciate the Tech Library” week might be in the making. But for now, the 5th floor library remains a myth to some who have never stepped inside, as real as the roof’s swimming pool.