Library aims — again — to be a quiet study space during Tutorial

Emma Jiang, Managing Editor

Librarian Sima Thomas checks in a line of students eager to study in the Library for Tutorial. Every Tutorial day, the library sees an influx of students sprinting through the halls to get in line right after class. “Today, we had this huge number of people showing up early to get in the line,” Thomas said. “What I really want is the library to be quiet academic space during Tutorial, because Tutorial is instructional time.” Photo: Emma Jiang

Students who wish to study in the Palo Alto High School library during Tutorial can again make a reservation online, in accordance with librarian Sima Thomas’s announcement on Schoology this afternoon.

But there is a catch: the library will now begin to allow reservations a total of 90 again, as long as they are made the day the student plans to go to the library for Tutorial, starting at 8 a.m. All reservations made in advance will be deleted, according to Thomas.

At the beginning of the school year, students were allowed to make reservations freely, but Thomas found that students were abusing the reservation system.

“A lot of students were gaming the system and making reservations many weeks in advance, or even a week or week and a half in advance,” Thomas said. “About 20 people who would make reservations didn’t even show up to claim the reservation, so that meant 20 people that wanted it didn’t get it.”

She said that this scenario works against the Tutorial system.

“The nature of Tutorial is that you’re supposed to actually be meeting the teachers or working on projects,” Thomas said. “You can’t know where you’re going to need to go for months, or even weeks in advance.”

To fix this problem, the policy was changed to remove the reservation system altogether last week. Thomas decided this week to switch to this new system with limited reservations, which she refers to as a “happy medium” between the two options.

One of the larger problems that Thomas hoped to fix with the cap on students allowed in the library is the abundance of students who are not on task in the library, a large space that makes monitoring every student difficult for the librarians.

“Tutorial is supposed to be an academic period, where you have some reason to go where you’re going,” Thomas said. “If there are students who wanted to come in here and work, they should have priority over the [students who are] gaming.”

She hopes that these changes will help keep the library a quiet study space for all students who need it.

Any suggestions to improve this system can be relayed to a librarian or sent directly to Thomas at [email protected].