New library staff persevere to better the library

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Freshmen Vincent Li and Evan Egerman duel one another in a thought-provoking game of chess. Photo taken by Golsa Sadrieh.

Golsa Sadrieh cub writer

Last fall, the BHHS library got two new staff who are figuring out how to connect with the student body.

Cynthia Bailon joined Norman Nation as a library technician in October of 2021. Before that, she worked for LAUSD as a TA, in the attendance office, and as a 7th and 12th grade teacher. 

When explaining the difference between LAUSD and BHUSD, Bailon found that “It’s a really big district so people don’t really know each other. Here at BHUSD, everybody knows each other. Everybody’s really friendly and tries to help each other out. LAUSD, it’s not so much because…everyone’s spread out.” 

Bailon has been through many career adjustments but has always served in public education. 

“I always felt drawn to working in public education, that’s always something that I wanted to pursue…I really do like helping people and I want to help students achieve success [and] achieve their goals,” Bailon stated.

Jessica Jay, the other librarian, also found that after working as an elementary teacher for 18 years, she wanted to pursue a career involved with something she has always loved. 

“My love for teaching kids reading led me to become a librarian,” Jay explained. “I saw the library position come up and I was like, ‘What a cool place to come and have my first job as a librarian.’”

Since they have only been here for less than a school year, Bailon and Jay have faced some difficulties. 

“The biggest challenge is not knowing a lot of the kids because Ms. Bailon and I are new,” Jay said.

There have been multiple stink-bombs gone off in the library and numerous occasions of students not respecting the authority of the librarians and the library aids. 

“Students [do not respect] our authority because they don’t really know who we are. They don’t understand that we’re staff too, we need to be respected as well. We’re not like random people that are here,” Bailon states. 

In efforts to combat these instances, Bailon explains that, “We’ve talked to administration for guidance on how to respond in those situations, and just trying to build relationships with students is one of our priorities, to help build that respect [and] trust and just making sure that students know who we are, making sure we know who students are, and just seeing as…human beings.”

“I think that the more we reach out and get to know people, and even the staff, it’s going to help build relationships which will help us all feel more comfortable here,” Jay furthers.

In order to achieve this, Jay and Bailon have established multiple things to try to make the library more welcoming and get to know the students better.

One of those things has been to implement more games to make the library more of a playful space where students can relax.

“We have the community puzzle, we have games available, we have word searches, we’re doing that in the hopes of creating a sense of community in the library to help bring students together, to help students destress, and just have a safe, comfortable environment to be in,” Bailon describes.

Other things have been giving the library a fresh coat of paint and having orientations for the freshmen and sophomores to learn more about the library and the resources available.

“What we’re trying to do is reach out to the teachers to have them come in and we do lessons with, at least right now, the freshmen and sophomore English classes so that they can get an idea of what the library can offer. Not only what’s here in the library, but also what is online, the databases that kids can use, and also the expectation of what we expect when you walk into the library and the procedures to follow,” Jay explains. “Part of that orientation is that we have the kids come up and we go up to them and we introduce ourselves to get to know them I think it’s a goal for both Ms. Bailon and I to get to know everyone’s name.”

Though Bailon and Jay are both new, they look forward to the future of the BHHS library and getting to know the student body better.

“I hope that the library becomes a place where everyone feels comfortable coming in and they enjoy the resources that we have to offer. It’s just a welcoming, friendly palace for students to not only learn but to also just java a safe space to be,” Bailon expressed.

“[Make the library] a collaborative space with myself and the teachers so that the teachers can kind of guide their kids to the library for academic support and to assist in the classroom,” Jay added.

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