Digital Suggestion Box Responses

Help Improve Your Libraries

Noise in the Libraries

September 14th, 2007

Comment: The libraries should be quiet zones! Students are trying to do research while others are goofing around and making noise. The computer areas in the library are areas you should particular be enforcing the rules about quiet.

The University Libraries offer a wide range of study environments from the traditionally hushed to the more casual and noisy. Students should make their own appraisals of the study spaces offered by the libraries and on floors within the libraries and decide for themselves what suits them.

Every study environment from the most casual to the most traditional does have rules of behavior. When students in an area fail to abide by these rules, we encourage you to report such behavior to library staff.

We would also like to emphasize that our policies on behavior in the libraries are regularly reviewed. Our intent is to offer the sorts of study areas that appeal to the full range of our patrons. When we need to change the rules to assure that a study space remains appealing, we will do so.

The Undergraduate Library offers the widest range of study environments. The third floor is designated a quiet study area. Signs placed at the entrance to the floor inform our patrons that there must be no talking, no use of cell phone, and no use of headphones and direct students who wish to engage in group study to use the collaborative study rooms. Though covered beverages are allowed on the third floor, no food is allowed. Anyone found in violation of these rules is required to leave the floor for the day.

The second floor of the Undergraduate Library offers a more casual study environment. Patrons using that floor are often involved in group study and talking at a reasonable volume is allowed. Students may be using their cell phones or headphones. They may also have food and drink so long as the food is not consumed at the computer workstations and the beverages are covered. While the second floor offers a more casual environment, it is not a public park or a rumpus room. Patrons are asked to observe a level of decorum suitable to any public building. If patrons are unwilling to show reasonable restraint, they will be required to leave the floor for the day.

The first floor of the Undergraduate Library does not offer a quiet environment. The comings and goings through the lobby, events in the atrium and Bernath Auditorium, and the snack shop and vending machine will always generate noise. The DeRoy Extended Study Center just off the lobby is, however, glassed off from the public areas and is intended for quiet study.

The open design of the Undergraduate Library allows sound to travel easily from floor to floor and from area to area. The University Libraries have been and will continue to make changes to dampen sound and prevent noise from traveling. The Undergraduate Library quiet areas are, however, usually a bit noisier than other quiet study areas within the Libraries.

If you would like a quieter environment, we invite you to use the study space provided by the Purdy/Kresge and Science and Engineering Libraries. Over the summer of 2007, the first floor of the Kresge Library was transformed into quiet study space for students. The serials stacks from that floor were shifted to the second floor, it was recarpeted, and tables and comfortable chairs were moved into place. The Purdy/Kresge Library also has another, though smaller, quiet study area on the second floor of Purdy. Both the Purdy/Kresge Library and the Science and Engineering Library also offer concentrations of computers near their reference desks as well as study tables placed in the stack areas on their upper floor.