Norrix’s Farnsworth Library is a safe space and rare commodity


Credit: Madison McNeil

Librarian John Krieder re-shelves books after they are returned. This is part of Krieder’s tasks as the Norrix librarian.

Madison McNeil, Guest Writer

When walking into Loy Norrix library you are greeted by the calming atmosphere of other students quietly typing on chromebooks and reading and a friendly staff. It truly feels like a place you can sit and relax.

“I think a lot of students just want a place where they can feel safe and comfortable,” said librarian John Krieder. 

There are few libraries in Michigan’s public high schools. As of 2019 only 8% of public schools have a full-time librarian according to the website School libraries are disappearing when students need them most from Chalkbeat Detroit. Based on statistics from 2016 from NCES, school libraries are especially rare in urban high school settings in comparison to private or elementary schools. 

 “In this district, the powers that be saw the value of having books for students and staff to manage a space for them,” said Kreider. 

This is especially important because the library provides a place where students can feel comfortable, which isn’t always the case in classrooms and hallways. 

The school library is open from 7:25 to 2:20 and is staffed by Kreider, Pam Landis, a KRESA intern and several other student volunteers. On average, 56 books are checked out of the Norrix library every day. In January, 945 books were checked out, which is the highest number so far this school year.

 The library isn’t only used for reading and checking out books. Students use the library for the approved activities of studying, catching up on homework and using library technology. 

“Some students just need a place to chill out,” library assistant Pam Landis said.

However, during third hour, students tend to treat it like the cafeteria because they are so close together. 

“I love that the library is centrally located and very accessible, but it can also be difficult,” said Krieder. 

During lunch times students float into the library, bringing the loud and messy conditions of the cafeteria in. When the library gets too loud, staff asks that people leave, quiet down or eat on Landis’s side of the library. 

Krieder and Landis strive to make the library a safe space and pick books that students can relate to. 

Some more popular books checked out of the library are “Concrete Rose” written by Angie Thomas and “One of Us is Lying” by Karen McManus. Krieder said that he never really knows what will resonate with students when he is picking out new books.  

“Long Way Down,” a young adult novel written by Jason Reynolds, is another book worth checking out. The novel is about gun violence which is prominent in today’s society, and a lot of teens relate to the struggles of the main character Will.

Krieder puts a lot of time and thought into what books they put onto the library shelves. 

“I read thousands of professional reviews and as many books as possible,” said Kreider, “and spend a lot of time talking with students.” 

Even more so, there is a lot of care put into making the library a safe space for all students looking to relax, study or feel safe.