Library reopens on Tuesdays
January 26, 2023
Senior Yvette Mandujano spent much of her early years at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School’s (DPMHS) library, hanging out with friends, playing games and reading books. Following the departure of DPMHS’ teacher-librarian in October 2021, the library remained closed for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year and into the start of this school year.
With the library’s closing, the DPMHS Library Advisory Committee also dissolved. The committee had been around for multiple years and served as a place where students could develop digital library skills, learn about library resources, read to elementary school students and go on field trips to various libraries across Los Angeles.
“I personally have so many memories in that library,” Mandujano said. “Mainly because of my friends but I also had signed up to be a part of the Library Committee because I heard from previous years that it was really exciting. They went on trips, visited other giant libraries and I was excited. But then when it was shut down, I just was immensely disappointed and had to give up on possibly taking field trips ever again.”
Since mid-fall, the library has been open on Tuesdays throughout the day and for one hour after school for a “social hour.” The library is managed by parent volunteer Colleen Elkins, who allows students to check out books as long as they do it on paper, due to the fact that she does not have access to the digital checkout system. However, her presence did not bring about the return of the DPMHS Library Advisory Committee, nor does it fulfill the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union demands from their 2019 strike, which state that a librarian is required to be full-time employed at every public school.
“We remain dedicated to finding a suitable candidate to serve as librarian at DPMHS,” a Los Angeles Unified spokesperson said in an email response. “While our search remains underway, we have a parent volunteer that supports the library after school on Tuesdays for our students.”
Social Hour as an afterschool club encourages students to participate in various activities with each other, functioning as a place to wind down while having fun. While she volunteers at the library, Elkins hopes for it to be a place of comfort for students.
“I cleaned it up,” Elkins said. “I got the books off the floor. I featured some books up (on top of the shelves). I’ve been trying to go through and organize the books and make a list. I can’t get into the checkout system but if students want to (check books out) we can do them on paper, old school.”
With multiple activities and games for students to play, as well as the ability to check out books, the library powers through despite its ongoing search for a working librarian.
“I think this could become a place that’s more of a social place,” Elkins said. “A place to study, a place that has access to books and access to things that you could just relax with, places to curl up.”
For freshman Nemesi Morales, the Social Hour club has allowed her to do all that and more, as it provides students with a place to stay inside the school to wait for their parents and socialize with their peers as they wait to be picked up.
“My mom tends to be super late to pick me up,” Morales said. “So when they started doing the Tuesday (Social Hour), I just went there to hang out with my friends and explore. It was definitely better than waiting on the bench… there are a bunch of game boards, we pick out which one we like and play with our friends. It’s a nice place to relax and chill.”