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The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

Staff Remains Positive On Library Despite Setbacks

Since 1962, the library has provided a space to find books, study and sit during lunch, before school and after school.  

Now, the new location of the library fulfils many of the purposes held previously but has lost a student presence. 

Librarian Nancy Glen shares her thoughts on the new library location in the commons, formerly the attendance office. 

“It was very shocking. I didn’t know how possibly they could squeeze a library into the commons here, but we made it work. It’s been frustrating,” Glen said. “We had to pack up the whole library, thousands of books. So it was a lot of hard work but now we’ve gotten through the first few weeks of school and it feels good.” 

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In January, a maintenance issue concerning sewage leaks within the building was made apparent when students returned from winter break. A staff meeting took place with information about the future of the building during March. 

“There was a whole staff meeting, we kind of all found out about the closing of the Library-Science building at once last March,” Glen said. “Once the change was put into process, they did ask for feedback.”

Library Technician Lolita Revear was able to give feedback about options for the new library system. Reconstruction in the new location was done over the summer, including the removal of a wall that was previously in the way. Shelving was also added into the new room. Students are still able to visit the new location during lunch and ask for specific books that they may check out if available. 

“Just like before you can go onto the library system Destiny and search for books by title, subject, series, author. And if we don’t have the book here, we can get it for them,” Glen said. “We can get it from Rogers or we can suggest the public library.” 

Glen shares what she described as an eerie moment from the beginning of the school year. 

“It is more challenging because there’s not a lot of space. For instance, when we did the textbook checkout,” Glen said. “One of us had to be in the old library checking them out, and Mrs. Revear had to be [at the new library] if kids had issues with their device, to get help.” 

While the new system allows students to check out books they are interested in, the library environment still has no replacement. 

“You spend years telling kids, ‘don’t bring food in here, you’ll get it dirty,’ and ‘keep the noise level down,’ and there’s sawdust,” Glen said. “I feel bad for the kids, a lot of kids spent their lunch time in the library. It was a safe place to go, a quiet place to study, so I think it’s harder on them than it is on us.” 

Revear is present at the library five days a week while Glen is present three of the days. Revear oversaw much of the moving, as well as the old librarian, Alison Larson. The custodial team, maintenance workers and a team from the Puyallup School District Facilities Planning Department all worked together to move the books and carts from the old library. 

“We want to be welcoming, I want kids to know that they can come and check out a book,” Glen said. “Please be open to getting a public library card, it’s just down the street and it’s a gorgeous library.” 

Glen said that Principal Dave Sunich as well as the vice-principals have been very supportive throughout the move. Glen, Revear and Larson received extra pay for the time spent moving to the new library location. 

“It’s a little disappointing that our building has gotten so rundown that we had to abandon it and eventually we’re going to condemn that building,” Sunich said. “Hopefully we’ll soon be able to pass a bond so we can [construct] a new building.” 

The move was stressful and challenging, according to Sunich, and he said that he is grateful for the teachers inconvenienced by the change for staying flexible and positive about the situation. The choice came after consideration of information about the building. 

“Ultimately, I would guess it’s the superintendent that makes the decision, but it came down from the folks that are most knowledgeable about facilities and repairs, those sorts of things, from our District Facilities Office,” Sunich said. “Based on the amount of money it would cost to get it up to standard so that it would be a reliable and usable building, it’s just not the kind of money we have, nor would want to put into a building that’s potentially going to be a short-term fix.” 

The decision to be proactive and move teachers as well as the library over the course of the summer was seen as a better alternative than waiting for something to go wrong within the building while people are still located inside. If a problem occurred during the school year, that would require those inside to move in one day, according to Sunich. 

“Last spring when we got word that we were going to be moving out of that building, we went through a multi-stage process with a whole team of teachers, administrators, district administrators, and talked about all the spaces we have and how things could be modified, and so it was a multi-layered decision,” Sunich said. 

Sunich said that there is talk of moving towards a levy preceding a bond, but there is no official approval by the school board yet. The levy would not pay for a new building, instead paying for expenses that the school district has such as repairs, modifications and operational costs. It would then be several years before voting for a bond could take place, and if it were to pass the process of building could take two to three years. 

“We are going to be having six new portables put on campus ready to be used by the start of next school year,” Sunich said. “As a team, we have to make some decisions about what programs are going to be housed in those new portables. If people feel library is a priority to have a bigger space elsewhere, that would be a decision the team could make. We might decide that where it is [now] is convenient and that we’ve found a working solution, so we will see.” 

This situation marks the biggest shutdown personally experienced by Sunich. Access to technology and books is still available to students, although the time it takes may be slightly longer than last year. While there is still a small selection of books available in the new location, there is also an interlibrary loan system in place. Many books originally located in the PHS library are now held at Rogers High School. 

“When we think about the library, we think about two different things. We think about access to books and technology, we still have that,” Sunich said. “The part we don’t have is that space. We used to use the library for large group gatherings, for staff meetings, for after-school tutoring for testing, for all kinds of different things. Having that building closed, we have one less large space to work with kids. We really don’t have a big space that can be used during the school day. That requires us to get creative with how we’re going to do the things we’re going to do.”

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Anthony Geiter, Opinion Editor
Anthony Geiter is a senior and the Opinion Editor for the Viking Vanguard. He likes to write music and skate occasionally. Geiter has always been interested in investigative journalism. “A lot of things are kind of obscured to a lot of people, a lot of information doesn’t get out there. And I think it’s very important to get it out there because when people are uninformed they don’t always realize the gravity of certain problems and they don’t always really realize how it affects them,” Geiter said. 
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