The popularity of books is declining, including libraries, due to the progress of digital media and its ability to hold attention. A school library would be something in decline, something that wouldn’t be as popular now as it was 25 years ago. However, even today the M. Darrell Miller Library at BHS has been an essential part of many BHS students’ days since its creation in 1997.
With the recent rise of digital media, it was expected that there would be a fall in the need for paper copies of books, but that turned out not to be what happened. While the number of books being checked out from the library hit its peak in 2017, the amount of people using the space on a daily basis to work is as high as ever.
The daily use plummeted in 2020, due to a false belief that students couldn’t use the library due to COVID and the complications it brought. We interviewed Ms. Sparks about the subject, “There were students that didn’t know that they could still come into the library and still check out books,” she said, “So getting the message to students that they could [was difficult].” Through the 2020 year it looked like the library was going into a steep decline as people weren’t concerned with the whole process of checking out a book when they could just look it up online.
But when students came back to school in 2021, the number of students visiting the library spiked as more people were using the area for reading, working on assignments, and just hanging out with friends. “It’s crazy because this year I still I feel like we went from really not having a lot of people using the library,” Ms. Sparks said. “I think that they’re using it possibly because of how they feel coming back to school after COVID part of the fatigue of just being [at school] on a very structured day.” The amount of students is at its highest during lunch hours, but there’s always a sizable amount of people, whether they are from a whole class visiting, senior study, the mentor program, or just passing by to print something.