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New library silence policy hopes to enforce noise control

Ian Benson

News Editor

Andrews and Gault Libraries are considering implementing a change to combat rising noise levels. The tentative plan will clearly define the noise levels and collaboration environments in both libraries based on the floor level and its distance from the CoRE.

“The CoRE has created more collaboration and activity and more people talking in the library,” Director of Libraries Mark Christel said. “Now things are a little fuzzier when you are on the second floor or the third floor. Everyone knows Timken is a quiet space, but in Andrews and Gault, it is a little less clear.”

The new library policy will be modeled after a stoplight, with colors corresponding to the appropriate noise levels. The CoRE and Gault first floor would be “green,” and the noise levels will be permitted to remain around their current conversational volume. The CoRE will continue to be the main space for group work and conversations, remaining the most active floor.

The second floor and lower one would be “yellow,” allowing for quiet conversation and phone calls. It will serve as a sound midpoint between the CoRE and the third floor and lower two. “The hope is that if the floor is too loud for you, you will go to Andrews three, and if you are too loud for the floor, you will go to the CoRE,” Christel said.

The third floor and lower two would be “red,” meaning a silent work space and no phone use allowed, the atmosphere modeled on Timken Library.

“The idea is that by marking the floors, people go into it knowing this is the expectation,” Coordinator for Research, Instruction and Digital Scholarship Mark Gooch said. “It then gives people a clear reason to approach individuals who are violating these expectations, as well as filter them back to the CoRE.”

The library staff would not directly enforce the change in policies. “Our hope is that we would change the culture and it would govern itself,” Christel said. “When staff is available, you can always come to them and explain how a group is being loud on the third floor and we’re happy to help. But, hopefully, over time it adjusts.” Christel cited Timken as an example, where there is no one that truly enforces the noise level, but instead it is generally accepted and expected.

The new policy was initiated by student concerns voiced by the Advocacy Committee of SGA, chaired by Jordan McNickle ’14. The library committee plans to present these ideas to SGA, and from there determine when to begin the changes in policy. They hope to implement the changes early next semester.


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