Letter to the Administration: BIM Library

Photo taken by Grace A. ’26 of the books currently stored in the B-side

Dear BIM Administration,

Our poll “How would you use a middle/high school library?” (Published January 23, 2023), asked the BIM student community what they would do with an available library space. Overwhelmingly, voters expressed interest in having a space dedicated for reading, peer tutoring, and relaxing.

From historical memoirs to the latest fiction read, the library would become a place for students to decompress at school in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Oftentimes, it feels like student spaces, such as the student lounge, are overcrowded during lunch and free periods. “Everytime I go in there, I feel judged. The only time I feel welcome is when I’m with a sophomore,” an anonymous ninth-grade girl admits. “I get kicked out a lot.”  With the lounge’s all-male reputation, it can be daunting for female students to feel welcome and comfortable. By offering another student area, we hope to assuage the exclusionary nature of our limited areas of congregation. The Reading Room has its similar reservations: it feels more like a classroom than a designated student space, dictated by the period of Learning to Lead and the two separate periods of College Counseling. While College Counseling only meets for two out of the three trimesters, students still find it difficult identifying it as an inviting space. An anonymous senior affirms, “The reading room is great and all, but I feel guilty for relaxing (in there)—like I should be doing work or something.”  With a quiet and comfortable atmosphere (aerial rug, beanbags and comfortable seating, posters and wall art), the BIM library could easily serve as a safe haven from the chaos of daily life for all students, at all times of the day. 

But creating a formal library for BIM middle and high school students would also support academic success. In our poll, we proposed an academic lend-and-loan policy for assigned reading by teachers—students could check out textbooks/books to complete various readings without purchasing the complete edition. This policy would help students in the short term, say if they forgot their book at home that day. In the long term, they could stay before or after school to complete chapter readings. Paloma M. ‘24 states, “I would’ve loved to stay later after school and do my reading in a library instead of having to buy the book.” With upperclassmen eager to get hefty textbooks off their hands, the library could rely on the (ever growing) student body and recent alumni network for inventory. 

We know that space is currently at a premium in the school. In considering a possible “home” for the middle and high school library, we thought that the conference room, room 305, may be one consideration. This space has already become a happy home to many high school students before school, during free periods, and in the afternoon. Another area we considered was the fishbowl on the first floor. It is the perfect size, but the main concern would be kids using it as an exit to the playground. There are already two other exits to the playground, and even then, logistically, it would probably not be too hard for them to pass through the library to the playground. Additionally, right outside, through the doors of the fishbowl, there are tables that no one ever uses. If we were to have a library there, it would provide additional seating and a nice atmosphere for reading or just lounging around. As for inventory, The BIM Bulletin has discussed the possibilities of hosting a book drive as well as taking advantage of the books stored in the B-side. 

We are open to discussing further how we envision the library to operate, but we anticipate it to be student-led. However, to establish a middle/high school library, we need administrative support in locating an available space and allocating corresponding resources. 



 Journalism Elective students.