BWHS Library Finally Reopening for the 2021-2022 School Year


Rylyn Christopher, Reporter

The Briar Woods library recently announced they are officially reopened for staff and students. Many were joyous to hear this, including the librarians who were delighted to share the news. Although students were still able to check out and read books through the BWHS E-Library during the time it was under construction, it is exciting to check out physical, hardcopy books and read them alongside friends.

The library closed for construction during the end of the 2020-2021 school year along with the main office. The decision to switch the locations of the library and main office came from a concern of safety. Administrative staff decided it would be best to make the change to maximize security and increase safety for both students and faculty.

Another reason the change was made was due to the fact the old library was the heart of the school; there were always students or staff inside, and it was a welcoming place for people to be in their spare time during school days. Furthermore, the library is, in a way, the “living room of the school,” said Mr. Thompson, the school librarian. He added that it makes more sense to have this treasured space in the middle of the building. That ultimately factored into the decision to relocate these spaces.

Both the main office and library were under construction this summer but only the main office was finished in time for the starting of the school year. The library is now fully ready, except for some furniture, which – they assured – is on its way.

Having a library is important because students can study, read, and print out class work all in one place. Hardcopy and paperback books are also available for students to check out and enjoy. However, for those that prefer e-books, they are still able to check them out from the BWHS E-Library. The library has many online resources such as the Follett Destiny Library Catalog, the main library catalog, and MackinVIA, a collection of e-books, both of which can be found in LCPSGO. EBSCO is another online tool that can be helpful when writing research papers. These features aren’t new but will always be there if for those who prefer them. As for new features, Sophomore Rebecca Koppel believes the most helpful feature in the new library is the staff. “They’re really nice, and they explain everything really well,” she said.

The new library is slightly smaller than the old one when it comes to square feet but has more shelving space, which means more room for books. There are more fiction novels now because, well, face it, in this day and age, there is less demand for non-fiction. Students’ research is mostly done from a computer or mobile device. Another effect the Internet has on non-fiction is that as soon as a book is published, it is often out of date by the time libraries receive it.

Despite this, the Internet has also helped improve libraries substantially. It is now easier than ever to borrow books from remote libraries. As Mr. Thompson explained, all of the school library systems in Loudoun County are connected, so if the Briar Woods library does not have a book, chances are another library in the county has it, and it can swiftly be attained. Other modifications to the library include new skylights and dimmable LED lighting.

Mr. Thompson said he “was surprised how many [students] came in immediately when we opened to check out books…we still don’t have as many as we used to before school. Before the pandemic this would be packed in here; I mean we would have 200 kids in here and now before school we’d have maybe 40.” Mr. Thompson also said “[the library staff] is eager to see everybody and, you know, we are eager to have everybody here. Anyone who wants a quiet place to read or wants some help or some advice or just a safe place to hang out, we’ll provide that.”

Libraries have been, are, and will always play a foundational role in everyone’s lives. They are not just giant spaces with books and four walls. School libraries are gateways to countries, cultures, adventures, and resources. They are places jam packed with opportunities for knowledge, creativity, and wisdom on every shelf. Check out the new library!