Underfunded Library Remains Off-Limits Despite State Mandate


photo Pacer Staff

The library is used as a storage space while books–most, 15 years old–sit on the shelves unread.

The school library has, practically speaking, been closed for more than a decade. And with no new librarian in sight, it doesn’t seem to be opening anytime soon.

In 2009, the previously shared librarian with Pace and M.S. 131 decided to leave, creating a role to be filled. And since then, neither a full-time nor part-time librarian has been hired, even though state law requires that all secondary schools must have an operating library during school hours and a full-time or part-time librarian.

The topic of re-establishing the school library is one that is complicated. Pace shares the building with both Sun Yat Sen Middle School and Emma Lazarus High School, so they too have a say in how the library will be occupied. To fully establish the library, all three schools need to come to a mutual agreement on how to manage the library.

Mr. Worthignton, an English and social studies teacher, said, “The way the funding would work is that our school, Emma Lazarus and the middle school, would all split the costs. Pace would probably have to pay the most, since we’re the biggest school.”

As of right now, the library is not used for its conventional purpose of giving a quiet environment for students to study and do homework. Instead it is used as an all-purpose recreational and meeting room.

Since the start of this year, it has been mainly used as a space to hold Covid testing. Emma Lazarus has been using this space as an exam room, with them also being the school that uses it the most frequently.

While there are students that have been in the space, many have not been there in a long time. Kayla Moore, junior, said, “ I’ve only been to the library once, that was before the pandemic. I was a freshman. I went there to do some work.” Moore added that once she was there, she could not remember a librarian or teacher being there, only students.

Many students that joined Pace during the pandemic have only been in the library once. Tommy Lin, 10th grade, said, “I went there with a friend during lunch to read a book.”

Without a real librarian, most students don’t even think that the library is available, nor does the school try to promote the use of the library.