The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The New MIHS Library

Jayce Madamba
MIHS Students work in the library.

This fall, the MIHS library looks different. There is a designated “quiet zone,” separated from the rest of the library by a retractable glass wall, as well as restaurant-style booths and a long curved couch by the window.

“[The school] wanted to upgrade the library and make it more of a learning commons and research center rather than just a traditional library,” librarian MaryJo Bill said.

Before the renovation took place over the summer, the school surveyed students to find out what improvements and new features they would like in the library.

“We did our own research into how libraries are changing. The most important thing was the feedback of students,” architect Anjali Grant, who designed the new library, said. “We wanted to understand how students were using the library now and how they might use the library in the future.”

Prior to the renovation, the library did not have a designated quiet area. It was difficult for students who wanted to work in silence while others wanted to have collaborate with classmates.

“There were students who really needed a quiet space to work, and so part of the reason for the glass wall was to create this area for students who really wanted to not be distracted, and work either by themselves or in a small group,” Grant said. “But then it leaves the [other] area of the library available for folks to chat or have a meeting […] Providing a variety of spaces and ways of seating is a way to support different types of studying and learning and also hanging out.”

“I think it’s a pretty good place for a study because sometimes the library gets so loud, you cannot concentrate. So having a quiet zone really helps,” freshman Suki Yang said.

Another new addition to the library is restaurant-style booths, allowing students to have conversations with others while feeling partially private from the rest of the library.

“I really like [the booths]…they’re really comfortable,” junior Arthur Huang.


Another new feature in the library is a curved zigzag couch by the windows opposite the booths.

“The curve is an interesting shape because you can face in a group, so you’re facing toward each other, or you can face away from [others],” Grant said.

“It’s a really good place to go if you want either someplace to chill or just somewhere to sit because they’re quite a few sofas and seats [by the window] that are pretty comfortable,” Yang said.

In addition to the upgraded student seating, another new aspect of the library is that all of the bookshelves have wheels, so that the whole library can be opened up for an event.

Students, if you haven’t seen the new library, check it out during your free period or during lunch.


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Ashwin Krishnaswamy
Ashwin Krishnaswamy, Features Editor & Website Manager
Ashwin Krishnaswamy is a junior and in his third year in Journalism. He is excited to be features editor and website manager this year. Outside of school, Ashwin enjoys playing jazz piano and saxophone, running, and reading science and fiction books.  

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