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This was a Q&A in Dear Amy in the Tribune today. Do you agree with her answer? My library has changed in that databases/internet/computers are available, along with videos, etc., in addition to books. But you still have to be quiet and people still read.

Dear Amy: When I was in school, libraries were places where people went to read and study in a quiet environment. Librarians quickly squelched noisemakers with a "shush" and stern gaze.

I have recently begun frequenting local city and university libraries, as I am researching various issues related to starting a company. However, the noise level at these libraries, without exception, makes it virtually impossible for me to concentrate.

I'm sitting at a local branch of a city library. Children are running around talking loudly, and their parents respond in kind.

Staff members speak at a normal volume, making no effort to set an example for patrons. Other patrons answer cellphones at a normal volume. Not 10 feet from me, two people are talking loudly while using a public computer.

I recently went to a multistory library at a local university. Two floors were designated "Quiet Zones." The entire library should be a quiet zone!

Whenever I ask people to please be quiet, they react like I am crazy to expect quiet in a library.

Am I crazy?

— Frazzled

Dear Frazzled: Crazy? No, but you are very much behind the times. Today's libraries are morphing into community centers, with cafes, Wi-Fi, public computer terminals and, yes, kids.

I happen to think this is just right. If you want quiet, you can still find it in designated spaces at the library — or at home. Wearing earphones might help you stay in "the zone."
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Wearing earphones might help you stay in "the zone."

Is this now a necessary piece of modern equipment to cope with acoustic society?

Unfortunately, my new library has many of the same features and noise problems. In addition, the main library is at the extreme rear of the building. The requires everyone wanting a book has to walk the entire length of the building, a real problem for those with walking difficulties (as I recently had for a few years). Everything for the more nimble was located just inside the door. Great planning.

I think it is indicative of the architect's abilities that, when the model was presented for inspection (before construction began), I pointed out to the director that the drive-up book deposit was located on the wrong side of the building and was in the middle of the entrance lane. It was moved to the other side of the building, the correct spot.

Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
Posts: 6194 | Location: Rhode IslandReply With QuoteReport This Post
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The libraries I've been in recently were still mostly quiet. Since I detest noisy environments, I consider a library to be a refuge from everywhere else. The woman who responded to Frazzled's query is, IMHO, a first rate jerk. While noise might be ubiquitous, it is not right.
Posts: 5211 | Location: Muncie, IndianaReply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think it depends. When my nephew and his family were here, I found them information on some of the activities for children while they were here. They have story time and activity time. They are usually held in a separate part of our libraries in this county. I went to a writing group once that was held in a special room of the library.

When I was in college, we had separate study rooms in the library where you could work by yourself or with a small group. I wouldn't expect a library to be totally quiet, but when there aren't special activities going on, it would be nice if it was relatively quiet.
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Hey, bumping libraries!
(Remember "bump"? Back when I first was on forums, people would reply "bump"to an old conversation to bring it back to the top.)

Our library's first floor is 1/2 devoted to the children& YA section, which features somewhat noisier events regularly. Since they've reinvented themselves w/ "multimedia," they cleverly placed that section in the other 1/2 of 1st floor. Makes sense, as a lot of folks doing that stuff are using headsets. The 2nd floor now has all the adult fiction, nonfiction, reference, & stays very quiet.
Posts: 2347 | Location: As they say at 101.5FM: Not New York... Not Philadelphia... PROUD TO BE NEW JERSEY!Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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