The Heart of Morton – The Knowledge Center

Alexandra Chavez, Writer

Mr. Glazik during this year’s first Exam Cram.

The Morton West Knowledge Center is a resource facility within the school where students can come to learn, study, and have fun. Here in the library, you can find all your favorites from the Harry Potter series, classics by Jane Austen, and new and upcoming authors like Colleen Hoover. The library is run by a team of staff and students, “When I think of the face of the knowledge center I think it’s a team. It’s not one person, it’s a community of people that work together that help make the knowledge center function.” says head librarian Mr. Patrick Glazik. Ms. Edith Mendez is the makerspace librarian, Ms. Adriana Vargas is the library secretary, and Ms. Priscilla Berry is the audio-visual secretary. The library also has a Knowledge Center Ambassador team; students who help out in the library and serve as mini librarians.

But why is the Knowledge Center a place students should go to? Libraries used to be strictly quiet places where you would just go to study. Here, while you can still come and study, people also come to do arts and crafts, play games, and just plainly socialize. During finals, students can come after school during the days leading up to finals and study. “Exam Cram”, which was started last year, is hosted from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Knowledge Center offers snacks and food to feed your brain while reviewing, raffles are held every hour, prizes are given, and students are encouraged to study and get projects done. The Knowledge Center also hosts fun events such as the annual Literary Pumpkin Contest during October, in which students decorate a pumpkin by relating it to a book and using whatever art materials they want. Ms. Mendez, who runs The Maker’s Space has daily fun activities for students to come and enjoy before school, after school, and during lunch periods. The activities are always connected to science, technology, engineering, or math. Sometimes it’s a take and makes activity, sometimes it’s morning technology tutorials such as cricket training and 3D printing. The library also has a Book Club held every other Friday that students can join to discuss books and enjoy donuts, cookies, and coffee provided by Mr. Glazik. Even a faculty book club is available for teachers to participate in. According to Mr. Glazik, “My number one priority is making sure that it feels and it is a safe space, welcoming, and inviting spot. My goal is that it’s the heart of the school.” Not only is the Knowledge Center motivated by ensuring student success, but the center also has the students’ safety and comfort in mind. 

But how does the library have the resources to provide for the students? Funding comes from various areas. The Morton school district generously sets aside a specific budget for the library. The library also receives both federal and state grants. All of these collectively help to fund supplies, books, materials, programs, and a lot of opportunities for students that the knowledge center helps to foster and create. When can students go to the library? The Knowledge Center is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. “We extended hours this year in order to make sure people have a space to go after school,” says Mr. Glazik. The library has an approximate total of 23,000 that is currently being reorganized to make sure the genres are reflective of student interest and are accessible to everyone within the school’s community. 

The Knowledge Center also has a Knowledge Center Ambassador program which is a student aid program. The ambassadors communicate

The book filled shelves. 

to the rest of the school through classmates and friends about the events happening in the library. Students come help out during their lunch period and help put away books, help students check in and out books, organize and just promote. When asked about why they chose to be Knowledge Center Ambassador, senior ambassador Emily Sennauth said, “I like helping people because it’s intimidating to come to the library for the first time and not know what you’re doing, it’s really nice to help them.” For the ambassadors, the library is their supervisory period and they get the plus of eating their lunch in the cafeteria in a private ambassador room. 

The library is heading in a bright direction. For the future plans of the knowledge center, the books are completely being redone into genres such as realistic fiction, science fiction, fantasy, sports section, adventure, and paranormal. The library will also have a face change by being remodeled to look like a bookstore with the covers facing forward. “My hope for the library is that it creates an environment where students can come in, they feel supported, they can explore what they want, they can discover unique ideas and learn, and that it created an opportunity for students to thrive in areas they want to thrive. My goal is to create a space where students can really figure out what they live and thrive with that. With all the resources provided, why wouldn’t you want to come and take advantage of the amenities the Knowledge Center has to offer?