Quiet Study Areas

Hi there, I have a concern with the Quiet Study Areas in the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Library. I have used the Quiet Study Areas for three years now to fulfill my need for a quiet space to do my studying. This semester, though, the areas seem to be inundated with patrons sporting the laptop computer devices. When I am trying to read or write in the Quiet Study Areas, I find the incessant clicking and typing of computers nearby to be quite distracting to my studying. I realize that patrons are expected to police noisy activity in these areas ourselves, and I do feel comfortable if someone is playing music to ask them to turn off their music. However, I do not feel as comfortable asking people to stop using their computers, or move to an area of the Library where noisy study is permitted (eg. most everywhere else in the Library but the Quiet Study Areas). I have asked a couple of people using computers to move to another location, but it feels awkward to ask one or two to move if perhaps five or six are all using computers in the areas. I am hoping for clarification of the Quiet Study Areas, and some real help for my dilemma. Thank you and sincerely, Lance Nolen

Thank you for your suggestion.  What you have brought up shows that the Library as a public place has users with vastly different study habits.  We certainly share your concerns but please allow some time for us to think about how to deal with the laptop generated “noises” –  do we need to create an area where there should be absolutely no sound allowed I wonder?  Or is it even possible?  In the meantime if you feel shy about asking people to be quiet, please ask our librarians or staff at the reference or circulation desks to help you convey the request.

Thank you,

Ray Wang
Interim Dean

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2 Responses to Quiet Study Areas

  1. systems says:

    Hi again, This is an addition to my comment from a week ago about laptop use in the Quiet Study Areas. Today I had a need to use the Food Friendly Area on the first floor for meeting with my group partner for a group project. There was a woman in the area using a laptop who asked us to be quiet, but this was not really practical or convenient, as we needed to talk about our project together, and the first floor of the Library is an acceptable place for that. I felt inclined to refer her to the Quiet Study Areas, but then realized that she would be a noisy laptop user within the Quiet Study Areas. I think the solution to the problem of people with laptop computers needing a Quiet Study Area, and to the problem of laptops being noisy within the Quiet Study Area would be to designate a new Quiet Study Area just for the use of computers. This might be possible by specifying a certain “side” of an already-existing Quiet Study Area, as a laptop-specific Quiet Study Area. Sincerely, Lance Nolen

  2. Tristan Kadish says:

    I too require a near silent study area when I am really getting down to the dirty details of a really thick scholarly reading. In my case, it is not so much that people are “quietly” using computers or just whispering but are blatantly defying a quiet study environment with louder than whispering chatter and/or cell phone activity. I have no problem telling people that what they are doing is innappropriate when it truly is. However, I still have to endure an internal debate as to whether or not they are being too loud, if I should act, etc. It is an ongoing struggle.

    What I suggest is that the library establish the three floors as three zones of quiet status, low, medium and high for the first floor, second and third, respectively. Those that want a focused area where they can work in groupds and discuss what they need would stay on the first floor and/or in the new library cafe. Normal speaking levels could be tolerated.

    On the second floor I suggest that we have a whispering policy because if anybody needs to speak louder, they can do so on the first floor. Here in the second floor couch area, I have had some of my most frustrating experiences because there is no silent area policy as far as I know and so I feel like asking people to be quiet is out of place. Here too we could have those who wish to type and click on their laptops or perhaps work on art projects with rustling papers and scissoring. This policy would exclude the Fishbowl which I have always considered to be a ‘regular talking volume area’, granted the doors are closed.

    Then on the third floor I suggest that an individual based silent study area be established. On the third floor near the Humboldt Room are the only cushy chairs where one can post up for hours on end to finish a book or study. However many people will use this area for quiet group work which ends up not really being all that quiet. Cell phone users can be outrageously clueless and will speak at full volume which really stands out in a normally very quiet zone.

    I hope this helps, it has been a subject of much thought.

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