Mrs. Mariya Ortiz looking to revamp the library


Photo By: Emily Stein

The librarian is looking to transform this space into one that is welcoming to not only students, but the community.

When you think of the stereotypical library, you probably imagine a quiet room filled with books, stressed-out people, and a mean librarian demanding silence and order. However, librarian Mariya Ortiz has been working on a project to make the Judson Library something much more inviting and interactive than this typical view of libraries. 

The vision for this project has been inspired by the idea of community amongst students. 

“The libraries serving today’s communities are really less about being quiet book museums and more about creating places for social connection,” Ortiz said. “To me, it’s as if the world is more disconnected and lonely. I really wanted to have students and staff connect in new ways.”

The Library Bistro is something that Ortiz has had in mind since she interviewed for the librarian position. It has been in the works for about a year. This school year, assistant librarian Tracy Boyd joined the team and has been a big part of the project.

 “Mrs. Boyd has helped to really bring an even more warm and welcoming aura to the space,” Ortiz said. “She’s fantastic at creating rapport with students and she’s eager to see even more students calling the JHS Library their home-away-from-home.”

The space has been cleared and is ready to bring in cozy furniture, games, and eventually a place for students and teachers to buy coffee, tea, and cocoa to create a calming and comforting atmosphere. In order for this to happen, the library has already undertaken some redesign. 

“With the culture shift underway, it was time to begin the physical building of the space.  This meant, first, we had to clear a space for it,” Ortiz said. “Last year, we took out the security gates to create a more open vibe for the entrance.  Then, when we were able to repurpose our out-dated casual seating by donating it to the Staff Zen Room.” 

This space won’t just be available for comfortable studying though. There are plans for students to manipulate the area for events that you would see at any other artsy bistro. 

“This coffee-shop vibe will also help us become a gathering place for writers, readers, and musicians,” Ortiz said. “Ultimately, we hope to host regular book clubs, open mics, and even feature acoustic artists. A later phase will include installing large screen monitors that will allow us to feature student-created documentaries, short films, and more.”

For a project like this, there needs to be a large amount of financial support from the community. Ortiz has created a GoFundMe for those who wish to donate and support the creation of a welcoming space for students on campus. 

“We have had some local donations, already.  Dr. Ball gifted us with the easy chairs from Central Office. These are the only chairs in the space right now. Coach [Urbanovzky] also gave us a generous donation to help us get closer to our goal,” Ortiz said. “We really appreciate how our Judson HS Family is so supportive of all the dreams we have to create an awesome JHS Library program.”

The library on campus will soon be a place of comfort, creativity, and most importantly, community. 

 “This cafe is really about promoting ohana,” Ortiz said. “We make it our mission to find ways for people to connect to the idea of a Judson Rocket Family, and to quote Lilo & Stitch:  ‘Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.’”