Annya Dahmani
Freshmen Abby LaComb and Bella Mathisen rate the sweets in the Matthews Library at a chocolate tasting, one of several events librarian Joanne Melinson has organized that revolve around the theme of stress relief.

When picturing a library, one usually imagines rows of dusty shelves filled with books.

However, in the Matthews Library, tasting tea from around the world and coloring in a “Game of Thrones” coloring book are more likely.

At the beginning of each school year, librarian Joanne Melinson chooses a theme. This year it was stress relief, which she decided after noticing that more students seemed overwhelmed.

In previous years, themes have been reading for pleasure, strong research, and marketing.

This year, there have been coloring-and-cookies sessions, tea-and-chocolate tastings and even a talk by chef Martin Hutton.

The popularity of the tea tastings has surprised Melinson.

“I had no idea how much the students like tea,” she said.

“I was shocked by how many people showed up for that, but I was really glad because that’s something I can easily do.”

According to a study done by the Harvard Medical School, many different types of tea can relieve stress, including green, mint and chamomile.

Continuing with the stress-relief theme, Melinson held a chocolate tasting that included single-origin craft chocolates and faculty favorites.

Chocolate, especially dark kinds, is a stress reliever, according to WebMD.

“I liked the chocolate tasting, but there was mainly dark chocolate and I don’t like bitter chocolate,” sophomore Carlos Nuñez said.

Nuñez isn’t the only one who enjoys milk chocolate more than dark. In a tally done during the tasting session, students overwhelmingly preferred the milk chocolates to the dark, according to Melinson.

Another of Melinson’s favorite activities is the lunch-time classical music in the library, performed by the high-school orchestra and chamber groups.

“We’re musicians,” orchestra teacher Felecia Keys said.“Music should be shared, and the library is an excellent venue to reach the audience who doesn’t regularly attend our concerts.” 

Melinson used to show TED Talks during lunch but stopped this year.

“I didn’t have as much interest in them, so I decided to fill in the gap with the tea tastings and coloring,” Melinson said.

However, monthly Book Club meetings still occur.

“We also added one with (middle-school English teacher Lauren LaMay) on the book ‘Go Set a Watchman’,” Melinson said.

And the usual yearly activities will still be held, such as Read Across America Day (Wednesday, March 2).

On Poem in Your Pocket Day (Thursday, April 28), Melinson plans to take a group of high-school students to the lower-school library to do activities with the kindergartners.

—By Allison Zhang

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