Dimond’s Library Will See Changes Within Its Walls

Right now, the Dimond library has two full-time assistants and a full-time librarian. The Anchorage School Board has decided that next year, high school libraries will have one half-time assistant and a librarian. Library staff “are going to need to make decisions about when the library is open,” said Dimond’s Librarian Suzanne Metcalfe, who is also a former English teacher. On any given day, the library staff can be seen putting labels and barcodes on the books, entering books into the catalogue, helping students find books, checking books out, checking books back in, putting books on shelves, laminating for teachers or printing replacement and makeup identification cards, said Metcalfe. The library staff does many more tasks behind the scenes, too. In addition, the librarian, Metcalfe, helps teach classes when they come to the library, works with teachers, maintains the library website, orders materials and much more. Even though the library staff is being reduced, someone still needs to be at the desk ready to check out books, answer phones and check passes. When the half-time library assistant is not at the school, the librarian will need to be ready to check out books at any given time. She will not be able to be attending to her other librarian duties as easily. Metcalfe said that she is entitled to a 30 minute lunch break, but she rarely takes it even with the current amount of staff. Ironically, the library staff is being reduced, but the size of the library is growing. There are plans to take the walls of the AV room in the back of the library out and move the library computer lab to the new area. Currently, at one time there is room in the library for two full classes and a small class. After the renovations, there will be room for another class to be in the library. Metcalfe and Dimond’s Principal Cheryl Guyett worked together with the plans for the library changes. It was Guyett’s idea to get a legislative grant, which is money in addition to the school budget, to remodel the library, said Metcalfe. Eagle River High School has almost the exact floor plan as Dimond. Before Eagle River High School was built, Eagle River’s principal, its librarian and the District project manager came to Dimond to see what the school was like. They thought the library was too small so they left the room in the back of the Eagle River High School library open to begin with. Eagle River High School has about half the number of students as Dimond, and their library is bigger.