Local libraries provide solace, teen programming, and late-night study spaces

It’s 2:20 on a Wednesday, and the school bell has just rung, dismissing over a thousand ARMS and ARHS students. While some students head home for the day, and others go to their sports practices, many students are looking for a quiet place to study past the school library’s hours or a place in town to relax with friends.

One place that fits both needs is a town or college library, and there are many within walking distance of ARHS, providing easy access for students. The Jones Library and the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College are two heavily trafficked spots.

When entering the Jones Library at 3 p.m. after school, you might see more middle schoolers than adults. Some students are there to do their homework, others to hang out with friends, and some to participate in after-school programs hosted by the Jones Library itself.

Cecilia Jezek, the Youth Services Coordinator at the Jones Library is in charge of organizing these programs. “About four years ago we noticed a heavy use of the library by teens around 2:30 p.m.,” Jezek said.

“We don’t currently have a designated teen center,” she said. “But we wanted to give teens a comfortable place where they could come and hang out, so we started planning weekly Teen Lounges on Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m.”

Last Wednesday, the Jones Library hosted a very special program for students, to meet a need for supervision and enrichment during a district Early Release Day. 

“We had an anime afternoon theme,” Jezek explained. “We had access to anime that we don’t usually have the public performance rights to show. The snacks we provided were Japanese-themed like Pocky, seaweed and rice crackers, and nori. We also displayed some of our books on Japanese culture.”

The turnout at last Wednesday’s event was excellent. Jezek said that 55 teens showed up. “We got a lot of great feedback afterward about wanting to see it happen again,” she said. 

The Robert Frost Library at Amherst College is another popular place for high schoolers to hang out and do work after school and into the night. The Frost Library is a popular spot for studying with friends because of its spaciousness, its hours, and its accessibility for high school students. 

Meiyi Weisbord, a high school junior at ARHS, sat down with me to discuss why she enjoys studying there.

Weisbord usually goes to the Frost Library before going to work on Thursdays at Hastings at 5 p.m, or after work ends around 8 p.m. Weisbord said she normally goes to the library with friends, but sometimes she is there by herself. 

“It’s open at later hours,” Weisbord explained. “There’s more space and different levels of floors based on the work environment you’re looking for.” 

The hours of college libraries are also a big draw. Classes at ARHS leave students with hours of homework, and students find themselves more productive when tackling their work at the library, rather than at home. 

“I always do my work at the library,” said senior Wyatt Kellman. “The library makes me be more productive, and I get everything done much quicker than I would have at my house.”