A second home

Librarian makes safe haven for students

Head+Librarian+Brooke+Ferguson+ensures+her+library+is+a+comfortable+space+for+the+students+of+Texas+High.

Photo by Doug Kyles

Head Librarian Brooke Ferguson ensures her library is a comfortable space for the students of Texas High.

Story by Doug Kyles, Editor-in-Chief

Tough love is an art, and look no further than the library to see the master of this craft. For some, the library is a rare visit, compelled only by the occasional trip to make up a quiz, but for a select group of students and teachers, the library is a second home. 

Spend a few minutes in the presence of Head Librarian Brooke Ferguson, often referred to as simply “Ferg”, and you’ll see exactly why. History teachers, student athletes and many others impossible to categorize into one group can all attest that the library offers a heartwarming break from any tough day. Many feel that, whether it’s due to  the “cry closet”, the caring ears of Ferg herself or the exceedingly comfortable couches, the library is a place for positive reinforcement and advice to no end. 

“I think that most people think that a librarian is someone who curates books, tracks them and leads people to them to check them out,” Ferguson said. “But the truth is librarians are just so multifaceted.”

Ferguson is charged with managing the school’s technology for students, creating infrastructure for this purpose and exploring new initiatives like the one-to-one program (which seeks to acquire one device for each student at THS) the school hopes to create. However, the element of her job, which has generated fondness for her across this school, is a duty that was never required in the first place.

“There’s like this whole other part [of my job], that is the human part,” Ferguson said. “There’s also creating a place [for those in need] sometimes; some students need a safe place where they know that everybody’s kind of on an even field.”

Ferguson is a strong believer in the power of positivity to change one’s day around and seeks to turn her library into a center of this for whoever might need it. 

“I hope that they see it as a place where they can come and get some positivity,” Ferguson said. “I already kind of tried to be that person, because I know that the interaction that some people get from here is because they need a rest from out there.”

It’s no secret that high school is a stressful environment; from constant academic stress to social pressure, it’s not easy for students to handle. Ferguson has not forgotten this from her years in high school. 

“There’s a lot of expectation in the hallway,” Ferguson said. “People have to wear a persona and sometimes just need a minute to set it down.”

But who exactly takes advantage of this environment and uses it as Ferguson intends? The library has become one of the most diverse locations on campus, drawing in those from all backgrounds. 

“I feel like a goal of mine, and I think it’s working pretty well, is that the library is kind of a different place for different people,” Ferguson said. “Some people need to come in here so they can hang out with their friends without everybody looking at them. Some people truly come in here because they love to read, and they love to be around books. There’s a group of people who come to listen to records. There’s a group of people who sit over there at the conference table and literally just joke or play chess.”

No day in the library is the same for Ferguson, and she’s quick to point out how outside factors lead to trends within her safe space. 

“I see patterns when things are stressful at school, so at the end of the six weeks, or something crazy happens on campus,” Ferguson. “If it’s been a week with a lot of fights or something, even some animosity floating around, you’ll see a lot more kids coming in here. They’re either looking for me to deposit into their emotional bank account, so to speak, or they’re looking for somebody else to, and they’re looking for a place for that to happen.”

“Ferg’s” job description shape shifts on the daily, and with just one duty, students can count on her to be attentive to students however they may need it. 

“She’ll be the most helpful person you can imagine with whatever you need,” senior Jacob Grierson said. “Personally for me, I’m in a lot of classes that go off campus and sometimes things happen or get disorganized. If a bus isn’t coming or something, Ferg is always the first one to help us out by emailing an administrator.”

For those constantly finding themselves in the library, there is no substitute for their favorite librarian, and one doesn’t have to look far for a student ready to speak on just how much Ferguson means to them. 

“Mrs. Ferguson is like a mother that’s a professional therapist,” Grierson said. “She is the most caring person you’ll ever meet on this campus. The best thing about [the library] is it’s a super relaxing, tranquil and great environment to be in, and even with that, you still grow every time you’re in here.”