Library Should Be Quiet Study Haven, Not Social Gathering Place

For many students, Torreyson Library is the place to go for all of their academic needs.

As it should, the idea of a library conjures images of a quiet study-haven away from the noise of an apartment, roommate or coffee shop. It offers a change of scenery and the space to spread out and focus on your work. All too often, though, these images turn out to be a mirage.

Some time ago, the first floor of the library became the designated area for groups to work on projects and study. More group study rooms were made, walls were covered with whiteboard paint and projectors were added to the larger study rooms.

The goal was apparent: our dear old library was adapting to new times—focusing more on helping students study together rather than alone.

Along with removing the signage designating quiet areas, the changes encouraged students to study more effectively. At the time they were implemented, all of these changes probably seemed perfectly logical.

Overlooked was the possibility that people’s behavior might change when they no longer feared the wrath of the mean, old librarian.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am not against studying in a group nor am I against talking to others when you study in the library. I am, however, against people abusing these privileges and disturbing the peace of those trying to prepare for the next day.

Two people sitting across from each other should be able to communicate without disturbing people at the next table. This was the way things worked before the first floor was redesigned for group study.

I can’t act like the patron saint of silence, though. Occasionally when studying with other people, I will laugh too loud at a joke or speak too loudly without thinking. These types of slips are tolerable; some noise every once in a while is reasonable to expect. People make mistakes.

It is not tolerable to use the first floor of the library as your own personal social club. Making rounds and talking to everyone you know or, even worse, coming to the library with the intention to socialize rather than study is unacceptable.

It’s not entirely the fault of these students for disturbing the peace however.

When you are in one of the study rooms you can hear the conversations from other students just a few rooms away. It may be because of shoddy wall insulation or the positions of the air vents, but people in different rooms can be heard if they say anything even slightly above an “inside voice.”

Considering all of the above, it is important to remember that abusing the layout of the first floor for socialization not only disturbs those trying to study, but also contradicts the point of a library. Those who took a mile from an inch and turned the library into a social place ruined it as a academic place for those trying to study.

Please just shush and let me study.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 20, 2016 print edition of The Echo. 

image via thetimes.co.uk

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