Noise, computers, and procrastination

You wrote:

Hi there, This is  an undergraduate student, and I want to express a
certain feeling of spite for the downtown library. I come here usually every day, if not every 2nd day to do a lot of studying and I must say the atmosphere in this library is completely unsuitable for studying a lot of the time! People recieve phone calls and talk either in their seat or in the book aisles, most people talk without whispering when someone they know stops by, people working together at computers and tables don’t even attempt to whisper, and a couple times the day of a big test I would personally have to go ask people to please be quiet. People aren’t always nice to me or considerate when I ask this. When people are rude about it I usually claim that this is a library, like any other and you are expected to be here for academic purposes and keep to a whisper if you’re going to talk. It seems nobody respects this, and there is absolutely no enforcement by library staff to keep people quiet, so I don’t know what to do. Another issue is computers and a lot of people simply using them for procrastinating purposes like playing games and watching movies for extended periods of time, plus people leaving their computers unattended with all their things left behind to save their spot. Mostly I would really appreciate it if there was some enforcement of keeping people quiet in this library. Thanks.

We are grateful for your comments. It’s clear you care deeply about the quality of your work and study environment. You are not alone. Since we started this blog, we have heard back from dozens of students who also feel that the library is too noisy. Unfortunately, library staff also frequently experience the same kind of reaction you report when you approach a fellow student who is making too much noise.

If you have read the blog before, you will know that the Library has a Working Group on Noise in Webster Library. The findings of the Working Group will be shared with students and will form the basis for a set of new policies and procedures to be worked out over the summer and introduced in the Fall. We expect these new procedures to alleviate the noise problem but they do have resource and staffing implications, so it is not easy to introduce them right away. In the meantime, please remember that library staff are often able to guide students to a quieter area of the Library, and give useful information regarding quieter times of day or days of the week. Also, Vanier Library suffers much less from noise pollution and may be an option for some students.

For other students out there who are concerned about the noise level at the Webster Library, please know that we read all your comments, but we may not be able to put all of them on the blog for reasons of space. Do continue to write us, though. The more ideas we get from you, the better we can plan how to address the issue. Another way to have your voice heard on the blog is to add your comment to a post that concerns noise or any other issue you care about.

Regarding your thoughts on computers in the library, it’s important for everyone to remember that computers in the library are to be used for academic purposes. While we respect that academic work can take many forms, using library computers to play games may not be the best use of a library computer. We have all seen how many students have to line up and wait for a computer. For someone who needs to type and print a paper that is due the next day, it is quite unsettling to see another student sitting at a computer while in a deep Spider Solitaire trance. Likewise, you have noticed that some students “reserve” a computer by logging on, leaving their things there and then vanishing. This is simply inconsiderate. I can only gently remind everyone to think of how many others might need a computer and to use their time on their workstation in a way that respects the needs of fellow students.

I sincerely appreciate that you took the time to write in. We read each and every suggestion that gets sent to us.

2 thoughts on “Noise, computers, and procrastination

  1. Undergrad too

    I also find it annoying to have people have “conferences” at their terminal where people drop by, literally to have a coffee with them while they discuss lots of things.

    It is currently 10pm on a Tuesday night. I worked all day and came here afterwork at 6:30 pm and have had to listen to several people do this. I have had to move twice and this is just silly. I am 5 terminals away with ear plugs in my ears and I can still hear them.

    I would like to suggest 2 things:

    1. Glue a little card/sticker on the monitors with an email address to the security guards downstairs. Include on the little card/sticker a note that explains that you can email security if someone is talking loudly or having conversations at their computer. (in person or on the phone)

    2. If the guard gets an email, the student is “advised” to stop. If the security guard gets 2 messages about any one person, they are escorted out of the library for the day and their student ID is recorded. If they do this 3 times in a school year, their ID no longer works to access a school computer. Period. No negotiations.

    Do I really want to hear about other people’s personal lives? am I here after work to complete assignments on time or here to listen to them procrastinate?

    This is not how you develope a quality student body.

  2. Anonymous

    I fully agree with the proposal of the comment above. Personally, I feel that there should be a guard permanantly stationed within the library.

    To the Library’s response:

    While it is unfortunate that some students may reply rudely to library staff when asked to be quiet, it does not justify doing nothing. Students who do not respect the library staff should be escorted from the premises.

    The solution to studying at the Loyola library is simply unacceptable.

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