FROM THE JOHNSTON LIBRARY: Proximity to schools a mostly pleasant mixed bag

By JON ANDERSON/Special to the Sun Rise
Posted 9/3/21

For the library, being next to two large schools has always been full of problems and opportunities. It's been easier for us to cooperate with many parts of the Johnston school system during the day, …

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FROM THE JOHNSTON LIBRARY: Proximity to schools a mostly pleasant mixed bag

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For the library, being next to two large schools has always been full of problems and opportunities. It's been easier for us to cooperate with many parts of the Johnston school system during the day, and we have been popular with middle- and high-school-age kids in the afternoon.  There have been disruptions and complaints, and some adults who wouldn't tend to pick that time to visit.

On the other hand, we've had successful programs after school for an audience that might otherwise have trouble getting to the library, and individuals and small groups use the library for studying. 

Being here next to these schools is a choice the community twice made, in the original building of 1961, now the courthouse, and in the new one built next door in 2011, because the chance to serve youth is important to Johnston. The original facility adapted, as Johnston doubled in population, to recognize the needs of children and adults, and the new building has a room especially for teens.  

Labor Day for many people signals the end of the Summer break, and a return to school. For us it brings the need to be more alert and to work harder for a safe and peaceful environment throughout the building. We post rules and spend time explaining them to individuals when necessary.  We expect the teen room to be a little louder, and maintain quiet areas for everyone's use.  Near the children's llbrary in the lower level, we preserve order in that space so that parents with young children are comfortable to sit and read in the afternoon.

We welcome extra opportunities to serve youth with programs and self-directed activities, and also allow them the full range of library service, including places to talk quietly or study, to use computers, and to ask for help finding information or things to read.  Everyone has a right to use of the library that is productive and enjoyable.

Editor’s Note: Jon Anderson serves as the Marian J. Mohr Memorial Library Director. Watch for his column weekly in the Johnston Sun Rise.

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