Library of the future: How one NHS media specialist and her team are rethinking libraries


Sophomore Carter Richardson works on the computers in the media center. All students are welcome to use the media center’s technology.

Avery Lowry and Heather McQuinn

 In a world that relies heavily on the Internet, many libraries across the world have become an empty wasteland, devoid of any human interaction. It doesn’t help that the media’s portrayal of libraries is sometimes less than ideal — media outlets tend to show libraries as a sort of meeting place for “nerds.” However, one person at NHS is working to make the library  much more than just a place to check out books or revise a paper. 

The media center at Noblesville High School is proof that libraries are not limited to books. While the NHS library is still a place to study and check out books, unique areas have been employed in order to accommodate students with their everyday challenges and desires. With new stations and an alternative area to eat lunch, NHS librarian media specialist and teacher Lucy Gellert hopes to change how students view not only the NHS’ library, but libraries in general.

Gellert, who has been working at the high school for nearly three years, noticed that many students did not utilize the library as much. COVID-19 has been a storm that demolished spirit and unity for many students, and so Gellert longed to restore unity among students. Gellert wanted to foster a calm, productive place that students could come together to work or unwind. 

“We added the [library] café, we have the ‘Take and Makes’ — little kits that kids can take and [make] friendship bracelets — slap bracelets, [and] origami,” Gellert said.    

Junior Alaina Smith, who has only started using the library and its many areas this year, notices that many students do not visit the media center.

“I think more people should be using the [library]… it’s sad how much it goes to waste [and] how underutilized it is,” Smith said. 

One way that Gellert is trying to attract more traffic is by developing stress-relieving activities such as coloring, puzzles, and games. Students can enjoy these new additions of the library during AL, lunch, before school, or during free periods.

With such additions being made to the library, Gellert hopes that she and the rest of the library staff will be able to ease some of the stress that comes with being a student. 

“I think it’s nice to take a break,” Gellert said, “[so I] started doing ‘brain breaks’ during AL. Students can come in and do a craft or some sort of activity.”

Lynn Yaney, NHS’ librarian assistant and textbook manager since 2008, is hopeful that the library will become something more than just a place where students can check out books.

“We want this place to be a busy, enjoyable place for all students,” Yaney said, “We have already seen a big jump in library traffic this year over the last several years.” 

While the library at NHS continues to focus on literature and studying, Yaney desired to provide different tasks to help students realize what a media center can be. 

“Having students see the library as more than just a place where you check out a book; that is our primary function, but that’s not the only thing our space can do.”

The library staff yearned to create a comfortable environment for students, so they decided to update the chairs, tables, and overall layout of the library, 

“We wanted [the library] to be more [of a] cozy spot,” Gellert said, “[We] wanted students to see the library as a welcoming space — a space that they want to be.”

For junior Gianna Sanchez, the library is just that — a place to let the mind wander away from the many stresses of school. 

“The environment, the chairs, the music, and the lighting just give [the library] a certain atmosphere that can help you focus or wind down,” Sanchez said. 

The new café in the library offers students an opportunity to enjoy their meal without the stress of finding seats or the overwhelming loud noises that often seem to consume the lunch room. 

“The lunch cafe is a lot more secluded and there’s no competition for seating… it’s a lot less stressful and it’s quiet,” Smith said. 

The library at NHS continues to grow and introduce opportunities for students and staff alike. With continuous additions, and the students’ use of said additions, the media center staff expects the library to flourish.  

“The library will continue to evolve to meet the needs of staff and students. We hope to keep what works, to continue to add new opportunities and programming, and to change whatever may not work to make it better,” Yaney said.