Reporters: Greg Lockhart & James Grady

Libraries: Love Them or Lose Them

ARHS Advanced Readers:  Books

News Flash: Reading Can Save Your Life!



(Above: Hungry minds devouring the libraryís tasty delights)


The Amherst Regional High School Library is a library with a very conservative and yet modern look and prudent design that is aesthetically pleasing.  This is attributable to the fact that the school itself is only about two years old.  It is located off the main hallway of the ARHS with windows looking out to the second floor balcony, the main hallway and two classrooms on the second floor.



As you enter the library you may first notice the anti-theft security device that one must pass when entering and exiting the library. This device goes off when books that havenít been formally checked out by the librarian try to leave the library. This device works by means of a small metal strip placed in the book. The book must then be drawn across a small pad that will deactivate the anti-theft strip so that it can pass through the device without any problem. So far this system has been very effective in preventing book theft.


You will also notice Mrs. Jan Matthews, the schoolís librarian, at the libraryís main desk.



Mrs. Mathews has an interesting work history including employment at a library in a prison, university, a school for the deaf, and, of course, her current position at the ARHS library.  This work history and seven years at Dalhousie University make her more than competent and qualified for her job.


The ARHS library has 8000 Ė 10,000 books with more being purchased each day. The library has about forty subscriptions to different magazines and periodicals with a wide range of topics from current events in Canada to Japanese culture. Also, the library has subscriptions to four different

newspapers: The Citizen (a weekly local paper), the Amherst Daily News (a daily local paper), the Chronicle-Herald and the Globe and Mail.

Subscriptions alone take up approximately 25% of the libraryís allotted funds.


The library budget is determined by the ever-fluctuating student enrollment; approximately 800-900 students are currently enrolled at ARHS right now. Mrs. Matthews was given 50,000 dollars (not including the yearly allotted amount of funding to purchase new materials, equipment and, of course, books to get the new library off to a successful and functional start.  Many old books from the previous location of ARHS were brought to the new school but some were much too old and dilapidated and were not able to endure the less than one kilometer it takes to get from the old school to the new.


Though the library may appear perfect, it is not. It does not meet the ideal seating capacity as established by the government (10% of students population).  Only about 5% of the schoolís population (40-50 people) can be seated at one time in the library.  Although it is rarely crowded, on busy

days students can be seen entering, scouting for a location at a table for a place to sit or to access one of the libraryís nine computers, and leaving shortly after finding a crowded and noisy library void of a quality studying area.


Often, Mrs. Matthews can be seen through a window looking into a room neighboring the library working diligently at a computer.  What few students realize is that she is contributing to a new inter-school book cataloging system that includes school libraries in two counties.  This new system will aid in the lending of materials between schools by making it easier to locate material on different topics.  This project is not quite finished but is supposed to be completed within a couple of months.


The most commonly used items in the ARHS library are the computers with internet access, and the books and magazines on the shelves of the library. What most people arenít aware of are the materials such as pamphlets, magazine articles and photocopies kept in file folders neatly stowed away in one of the libraryís back rooms.  These materials are at every studentís disposal. Also, most arenít aware of back issues of magazines or the course calendars of different colleges and universities (but used extensively by the very few that know of their existence.


Sadly, the Amherst Regional High School library is only open to the students and faculty of the Amherst Regional High School.