Welcome to the first installment of a new regular feature on the Library blog. Feedback Express will appear twice monthly and will answer questions and suggestions submitted to the Library in the Customer Satisfaction Survey and throughout the year on our in-house and online comment forms. You can also forward concerns you would like addressed in this space directly to Harold Henkel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s too noisy here!
One of the most common concerns the Library receives is the need for quiet space. The following comments, taken from the 2010 Customer Satisfaction Survey are representative:
- Sometimes the Library is not the best place to get work done because of the noise level – people are either talking on their cell phones, chatting where it should be quiet; events are held in the Library Atrium.
- Every time I come to the Library there are people in groups socializing, talking very load, laughing, and gossiping.
Since the 1990s, academic libraries have increasingly attempted to provide space for collaborative learning. Often called “library commons” or “information commons,” these areas are now offered by many academic libraries to meet the needs of students working on group projects. According to Bryan Sinclair, the “Commons 2.0…incorporates the freedom of wireless communication, flexible workspace clusters that promote interaction and collaboration, and comfortable furnishings, art, and design to make users feel relaxed, encourage creativity, and support peer-learning.”*
In the fall of 2006, the Library began the steps to transform the first floor into a Library Commons, designating the first floor as a collaborative work environment and the second floor for quiet study. Through comments like the two above and others, we recognize that serving both students who need to communicate freely and students who need a reliably quiet space remains a challenge. We have improved the signage on both floors and will endeavor to maintain silence on the second floor as much as possible. When loud functions are scheduled in the second floor Atrium, adjacent to the library, we will inform you ahead of time of the potential for noise. Students are also reminded that Individual and group study rooms may be reserved through the Circulation Desk by calling 352-4198.
*Bryan Sinclair, “Commons 2.0: Library Spaces Designed for Collaborative Learning,” Educause Quarterly 30. 4 (2007),