Education

Houston Principal Replaces Library with Coffee Shop

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Trying to make his high school hip and cool, a principal added a coffee shop to the school. The one downside -- it replaced the library.

According to a Houston Press blog called "Hair Balls," Lamar High School Principal James McSwain got rid of virtually all of the books in the library and replaced them with couches, coffee machines and 35 new laptops for the school's 3,000 students.

A veteran teacher who visited the school a few weeks ago said most of the books were already gone by then. "There were a few down one side. They assured me they're getting rid of those as soon as they could. The plan is to turn the whole space into a coffee shop run by students."

A spokeswoman for the Houston schools, Sarah Greer Osborne, defends the move:

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"The school library has been updated. It's got a lot of new electronic equipment. Most of it's e-books and new laptops and they're putting their money, instead of into paper, they're putting it into electronic resources.

Yes, there are still books there but most of it is now e-books where the kids can check out the book and as long as they have Internet access they can read the book. The library is now open from 6:30 to 6:30, a.m. to p.m., and he says the kids are eating it up; they have never seen so many kids in the library before. They only did this a week ago and he says the number of e-books being checked out is through the roof.

He says the kids love it. They did put coffee and food in there so the kids when they're staying after school and before the kids can have a little coffee, read a book it's just like Starbucks.

Except they're providing the books as well. The kids are eating it up that's what they want. They want the e-books."

 
However that veteran teacher isn't buying it. "It's just stupid. It just boggles the mind. I'm sure there's more to the story and I'm sure that they can make it sound better than I'm making it sound to you but in the end it's a terrible story. There's no way in my mind that you can gloss this story and make it seem like a good idea."