Why We Have a Library

By Austin Durkin:

The Powell High School library is completely underused considering how useful it can be. The library has computers which allow you the opportunity to write essays, print projects you need, and perform research. They also have plenty of other activities. You can color pictures, take breaks on comfortable couches and/or chairs, and use the area for testing. The main attraction of a library, though, is books. Our collection is not the largest by far but there are plenty for you to check out. There are 15,238 books in our library’s collection. That includes physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks.

Like most libraries, there are a lot of categories. For instance, there is fiction, non-fiction, biographies, autobiographies, histories, mysteries, etc. Out of 15,238 books to choose from, there have only been 286 books checked out since the beginning of the year. This number sounds like a lot, but each child can check out three books at a time and the school’s “population” of students is about 1,352. That means that there could be roughly 4,056 books checked out at this moment. With the number of students we have, the shelves in the library should be nearly empty. However, barely anyone checks out a book. Sometimes not because of ill reasons. You may always be rushing to class or you may not get to school early enough. But the fact is, most of the students in this school are just lazy when it comes to reading. I’ll be honest, I don't read much. If I had the time in school, I would check a book out at least every once in a while; however, many who roam the halls of this school just don't care.

Another problem with the library is not just the students, but sadly it comes with funding as well. Our library staff tries all they can to give us new books to choose from. But when demand is so low, supply drops as well. Although, that could also be a direct result of the students in this school. If everyone checked out 2 or 3 books then our library’s shelves would go empty, showing the school and county that we need more books. The library is not useless, but we make it appear that way. People always say that books are “outdated.” Books are not outdated, we as a whole just think that we're too updated.

To end this I would like to share a staff’s point of view on the usefulness of the library. Ms. White, our librarian, told me “The library is useful because it is the cornerstone for the school community. The library offers free educational resources for every student and teacher at Powell High School. If you can't find what you're looking for through the services the library provides, you're not looking hard enough. However, on top of books and educational resource subscriptions (check out knoxschools.org/phslibrary for our electronic resources), I have daily newspapers (both the Knoxville News Sentinel and USA Today), popular magazine subscriptions, a coffee bar, a 3D printer, and a Cricut machine, among others. These are all resources that are intended for everyone when used appropriately. My motto is ‘The library is for everyone!’”

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