What we’re doing about noise

Noise in the library continues to be the issue about which we get the most feedback in the Suggestion Box. Here are some excerpts of your words:

Given that the level of noise in the library seems to be an ongoing issue, I was happy to see the new sign in the main corridor of the 2nd floor (near the circulation desk) which reminds students that this is a silent zone. However, I find students disregard it nevertheless. As I type in the supposed “blue zone” computer lab (where I am trying to concentrate to get some work done) there seems to be a loud party in corridor – their noise level travels to the lab (and the corridors echo, making it worse).

and

A fellow student once likened the Concordia library to “a club”. Given the noise level, the amount of socializing and students having loud & lengthy conversations on their phones, I don’t disagree with this comparison. What happened to Concordia honoring academics and a place of quiet study for its students?

and

The hallway close to the circulation desk really is a social area, making concentration / focus for students like me who use the computers very difficult. Students are hanging outside the study lounge chit-chatting, laughing, talking on their cell phones disregarding the fact that sound travels, we need quiet when using the computer to do our work. I am less encouraged to use the Concordia library for these reasons. I cannot believe there are no staff who circulate the library keeping the noise level down.

and

A lot of students who move chairs around in the orange zones with large tables are doing this so that they can sit 4-6 people per table. In these instances, they act like the library is a cafeteria and are noisy and disruptive to other students.This is a really aggravating situation, especially when students find themselves spending 10+ minutes looking for a study space once they get to the library.

and

Can there please be signs in the hallways and staircases banning socializing / cell phone use. What about monitors or security guards doing rounds to remind students shouting and talking to KEEP IT DOWN.

and

The library is turning into less of a space of quiet study and more of a place of socializing and phone conversations. This is irritating and obnoxious for those of us who actually come to the library to work, but given the increasing noise level, this is proving to be impossible.

and

I strongly suggest there be large, visible signs /notices around the library – in the bathrooms, in the corridors, on the staircases – reminding students to keep the noise level down and be considerate of other students who have come here to study and who need peace & quiet. Because this fact has seem to be forgotten lately!

and

It is absolutely impossible to focus and study at the downtown library. There is a ton of orange zone spaces and very little blue zone spaces (with tables as opposed to cubicles). There should be a security guard roaming around those areas and ask for people to quiet down in the orange zone. It specifically says QUIET study, NOT loud Study.

and

Maybe the message is that if I wanted a serious education, I should go to a serious university, like McGill. I don’t believe that Concordians should expect less, or that Concordia is a less serious university; but we should create a culture of seriousness and respect here at our library that reflects this. Let’s do it together. Perhaps we could have a round-table discussion with concerned library staff and students, so we can brainstorm together about how best to change the culture of our library. I’m sure many students are willing to take part in efforts to reduce noise levels at the university.

Thank you for your many comments.  Though not all of your words can appear here, each complaint and suggestion is always read and considered.  It may not always feel this way, but library staff and administrators at all levels are very much aware of the difficulties many of you are encountering when it comes to finding quiet  work and study space.  Here is what Guylaine Beaudry, our Director of Webster Library, would like to say:

Too often, many of our users feel  that the level of noise is too high in the library. The Blue and Orange Zones system has produced good results,  but we are aware that  improvements are still necessary for us to meet generally recognized standards of a quality environment in an academic library.

The short-term actions we have taken to address the situation include:  

  • hiring an additional security agent between noon and 10:00 p.m. and on an extra weekend to monitor the entrance of the library, patrol regularly, and assist in reinforcing the application of the library code of conduct.
  • increasing the number of staff walkabouts in the library during exam period.

We also know that longer term actions are required to adequately address the noise problems.  We are actively working on these:

  • a redesign of the library entrance area with the objective of better using that prime space,  lowering the level of noise created there, and setting the  right tone for a quiet library environment.
  • planning for providing more space in the library, and in particular, more study seats.

Thanks again to everyone for participating in this ongoing conversation.

2 thoughts on “What we’re doing about noise

  1. Anonymous

    Seriously, the library needs to get a handle on the noise. the fact i need to bring ear plugs to sit in the blue zone is ridiculous. there needs to be an increase of security or someone walking around to enforce the no talking policy.

  2. Anonymous

    The library needs a complete different approach to noise. I recommend reconfiguring the furniture so that people cannot gather around a desk to talk. Take a page from the Bibliotheque Nationale on how their seating arrangement….openness.

  3. Anonymous

    Why is this problem taking so long to solve? It seems more and more people are complaining about the noise level (students yapping into their cell phones, talking loudly to each each other, SKYPING everywhere)…yet the library staff aren’t really doing anything about it apart from posting replies on this suggestion box. More action, less talk!

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