Last week I received an e-mail from Ellen via this blog asking me about why libraries have become so noisy lately. Here’s the original e-mail:
Would you please help me understand why Libraries have been allowed to become so noisy?
When I have asked our librarian this question she said allowing people to talk makes the library a more friendly and inviting place. Helloooooo, isn’t that what cafes, restaurants, deli’s and park benches allow?
I understand the library can get noisy when story hour ends. The first teachers-parents-should teach the child to be quiet. If the parent doesn’t do that then the librarian should step in.
I go to the Library for a quiet work environment removed from my home and its responsibilities. It is a safe haven for me. I think about some of the teenagers in my community who come to the library in order to study in the quiet. The teens are part of new blended families which have produced younger siblings. It’s too noisy at home to study for final exams. These teens need a quiet environment. Why doesn’t the library want to offer that anymore. Why has the rule "Quiet in the library" become such a bad thing?
Having more than enough to say myself on the subject I figured it might be more interesting to open the question up for general comment. So, I asked for permission to post her questions here. Her response was positive, to say the least, and she provided some additional conversational fodder:
Thank you for asking my permission; and yes I would be THRILLED to find out what is going on in Libraries outside my area. I even checked the NY Public Library site; but there was nothing specific to talking.
What is ironic to me is that cell phone use is prohibited in our library. It is considered disruptive; but talk isn’t! My neighbor thinks that talking is allowed less as a way to make the library ‘user friendly’ and more about librarians and counter staff not wanting to have to get the spine to say "Be quiet, respect the rule or leave.".
Good luck. I can’t wait to see what you find out!
Those that know me and long-time readers of this blog know my feelings about cell phones in libraries. Simply put, I think that banning the phones isn’t the solution, it’s banning the bad behavior on those phones that’s more of a long-term solution. However, that doesn’t necessarily address her concerns.
So, librarian peeps, what say you?