A New Era: Barrett on Why Libraries are still Relevant

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A New Era: Barrett on Why Libraries are still Relevant

Photo courtesy of @MGmounties

Photo courtesy of @MGmounties

Photo courtesy of @MGmounties

Eva Myers, Staff Writer

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With the new school came new teachers, and this fall Mount Greylock gained a new librarian: Mrs. Liza Barrett, who previously taught in the Middle School english department.

“It’s a new era for the Mount Greylock School Library and Media Center, and I am so excited to be at the helm and to work with students and teachers and staff to make this library the heart of the school.”

Mrs. Barrett, who has been teaching for over thirty years, has made a change this year in becoming a new librarian at Mount Greylock. This new position follows four years of planning, learning, and going to library graduate school. Going into our fourth week of school now Mrs. Barrett is as enthusiastic as ever to get working on new projects in the library. She already has many creative projects in mind, a few including interactive bulletin boards, a vibrant new website, a library advisory committee made up of students and staff, and activities like Meditation Mondays held in the library. 

“Usually on Sunday nights, you think ‘Oh, the weekend’s over, I have to go back to work tomorrow,’ and this past Sunday night when my husband said ‘Oh, it’s Sunday night, we have to go back to work tomorrow,’ I was like ‘I can’t wait to go to work! I can’t wait to go back to the library!’ I come in and I’m getting teased by other teachers that I can’t stop smiling, and I really can’t! People are coming down to the library to see me because they’ve heard I’m so happy.”

Barrett is excited to be working in the library, which she hopes will become the hub of the school, used by all students and faculty for research, work, and pleasure. Already there are activities available in the library such as meditative coloring books, MadLibs, and an interactive magnet board where students may create fun stories for others to read on the whiteboard. The new library is going to be a vibrant and safe space for everyone to enjoy. 

“Libraries are community spaces, whether it’s the community in the school or a town community. It’s a space where people gather, it’s where you talk, you collaborate, you read, you listen, you share. I just want the library to be a safe space for everybody to be, and that is completely different than a space online,” says Barrett on the topic of physical libraries versus online resources.

In this age everything is available online, but Mrs. Barrett is a “staunch supporter of physical libraries and physical books”, and stresses the importance of a physical space where people can come together and get excited about reading and learning. With the new and improved library having both physical books as well as online resources (our library has recently rejoined the Mass Library System, offering access to databases that were not available before), it holds everything a community member would need to answer questions and help themselves as well as others. 

“What I didn’t realize until I actually began as a librarian was how wonderful change can be, and how revitalizing change can be.”

While some may think that physical libraries are outdated and uneventful, our school’s new library and the help of our librarians is sure to be anything but uneventful, and students and community members will use the library to gather, converse, and learn. It is a space that will create a safe and comfortable community that can’t be recreated online.