Squeaky Wheels

You wrote:

I just wanted to add that looking through all the comments/suggestions posted here from students, there is a lot of complaint about the noise level in the Webster library. But what is the point in offering students to voice our concerns/suggestions/complaints here, especially about the noise, if no action seems to be taken by the library?  When the circulation desk is closed, the only person to complain to about the socializing going on in the 2nd floor lobby is the security guard. I have just asked him to tell the group of students who have been lounging on the sofas for the past while talking loudly, laughing, etc. to keep it down since they ignored my plea, but no action has been taken.

Just to add, students sit on the sofas on the 2nd  floor talking on skype with no headphones, pacing up  and down having very loud phone conversations (which  echo), making this computer lab the worst location to  have “silent study” in. PLEASE take action into banning phone conversations / socializing in the 2nd floor lobby. Some of us actually come to the library to study.

You also wrote:

I am currently sitting in the SGW library studying for my exams. I am in a blue zone and it is 10:08 pm.  Multiple times I have mentioned to the people around me to keep it down, but of course they are talking at high volumes. Volume control should be enforced at all times in the library. The security men who tell people to throw away their coffee cups and apples should also tell people to keep it down. Volume control should be imposed at all times – not only during the week days during the day…


I have used both the Vanier and Webster libraries for studying, and find that the Loyola location is definitely a lot quieter, even at the tables.   In contrast, the downtown library is a gong show, with everyone loudly socializing and talking on their cell phones. I remember when talking on cell phones in the open area (just outside circulation area where about a dozen Clues stations are) or even hanging out and talking on the stairwells was not allowed. I would like that to be enforced once again. It’s hard to get into study mode when people are having extremely loud conversations in the lobby and the stairwells. There should be no cell phone usage whatsoever once people are on the 2nd floor.   

I was pleasantly surprised to see the ‘Silent’ and  ‘Quiet’ zones, which seems to be working okay but  there is still room for improvement, as some people  just don’t get (or care) that other people need  complete silence in order to read/work. I suggest being more specific with the signage, and note on the signs in the Silent areas that whispering is not okay and that people caught eating will be made to eat their food elsewhere.     These needed changes (cell phone use, eating, whispering in silent areas) can be implemented with more security. Come on, you guys have an extra $60 a year from students to work with, please use that to beef up constant roving security. It’s sad that it needs to come to that because of inconsiderate students, but it seems like it’s needed because all students should have the right to study in a quiet library.

Thank you all for your posts and comments.  I am sorry if it seems to you as though the Libraries have not done anything to alleviate the situation.  Yet, the issue of noise at the Webster Library has been one of the Libraries’ top concerns for years now. 

 Through various channels such as this Suggestion Box and the LibQual surveys, the messages were loud and clear (pardon the pun).  The noise level in the library was at an unacceptable level.   At the end of the fall 2008 semester, a Working Group on Noise was formed with the mandate to assess the noise problem, gather more precise feedback from users and staff, identify useful practices adopted by other academic libraries, and finally to make recommendations aimed at alleviating the noise problem.

In addition to conducting a literature review and contacting other Montreal libraries, the Group decided to perform a survey of library users in order to learn more about their study habits and their expectations in terms of noise environment. Taking these elements into consideration and having reviewed the literature for successful responses to similar issues, the Working Group recommended: a)  a noise awareness campaign based on the notion of respect for fellow library users; b) the creation of various zones in the Webster Library designated to accommodate different levels of noise (from complete silence to moderate conversation level in some group work areas);  and c) an increased staff and security presence during key periods like the beginning of terms and the exam period. 

These three recommendations have been acted upon: a noise awareness campaign began in the fall of 2009; we now have 2 main zones in the Libraries, Orange (quiet) and Blue (silent); you may have noticed staff walking through the library to monitor the situation; and finally, we have hired extra security agents for the exam period. 

Most library users agree that there has been significant progress, thanks in part to students’ acceptance and respect of the new “zones”.  There is room for improvement and we are always seeking new and practical ways to continue to make the Libraries the place of choice for serious study at Concordia.

2 thoughts on “Squeaky Wheels

  1. Anonymous

    I am actually ont he forth floor of the Webster Library tring to study for an up-coming exam this afternoon.

    I said ”trying to study” because I can’t do it properly with the Day-care centre just above us, that I was not aware of before today.

    A Day-care located above a library without any doors to prevent the loud shoutings and screams from disturbing students?

    Is this a joke?

    Please, rectify this situation. It is impossible to remain in this library for study, no matter what time students come in during the day.

  2. Anonymous

    I just want to comment on the idea of spending money on increasing security guards to patrol noise. This will not solve the problem. You cannot solve a problem with brute authority. In my opinion the reason Vanier library is a much quieter place to study is due to visibility. The study areas are concentrated in large sections. Everyone is visible to one another. Therefore groups of people that socialize are forced to keep it down as they are in plain sight of everyone. As a result students are the ones keeping the noise makers quiet. Therefore I highly recommend that the Webster library focuses on rearranging the furniture to solve the noise problem. Please don’t waste the money on authority. The library needs a face lift either way and now we have the opportunity to do so as students are funding it.

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