Ban the cells

You wrote:

Cell phone use in the library should be banned. For MONTHS I have been seriously annoyed by the general disrespect cell phone users have in the library to students like me who come to the library to STUDY.

Can’t there by signs prohibiting cell phones?? If students need to speak on their phones, then why can’t they go OUTSIDE the library – outside the circulation area.

The staircases are the worse for cell phone use – people chat away loudly for long periods of times not taking into consideration those students who are studying near the stacks or on the computers on the second floor CAN HEAR EVERYTHING AND THE NOISE LEVEL IS SERIOUSLY DISTRACTING AND ANNOYING. Even worse, students sit at the library computers having phone conversations on their cell phones.

Overall, I feel Concordia Library does not offer a quiet place of study and therefore does not seem like a serious academic setting. Either the library staff do not care enough to take precautions and therefore do something about it, or Concordia students don’t take the library seriously and use it as a place to talk on their phones and socialize with their friends.

Given the amount of cell phone users here in the library, all the students must be under the impression that talking loudly on their cell phones is acceptable – so more and more students follow such an example – given that there are no staff who monitor the areas and no signs that prohibit cell phone use.

Last semester I had to be at the library very regularly since I am studying for a Comprehensive Exam and working as a TA for an online course (and therefore grading regularly on the library computers). I found using the library to be very stressful due to the noise levels of cell phone users and students socializing. I wrote a few complaints on this Suggestion Box and spoke personally with librarians but nothing seems to have changed: the library is still noisy with people talking on their cell phones.

Thank you for your comment.  The frustration you express is understandable and coming through loud and clear.  We don’t ban cell phones in the library because it is the disruptive conversations we want to prohibit rather than the devices themselves.  We recently added banner-like directional signs on all floors at Webster, and these include a pictogram and caption prescribing: “cell phones on silent”.   When we do our daily rounds in the library, intervening on loud cell phone conversations is definitely part of our routine and in these instances we often mention just how many complaints like yours are received in the Suggestion Box. These interventions can only go so far, however, as in a 24-hour university library populated by adults it is just not feasible or realistic to have constant monitoring.

The computer areas on the second floor can be the hardest to keep quiet, partly  due to the busy entrance. As you might have read in previous posts, the entrance area is slated for a major redesign, and reducing noise levels there is a definite objective. Though an imperfect solution, borrowing a laptop at the Circulation Desk and heading for one of the more isolated blue zones in the library might offer you a better chance to work in a silent setting.  And speaking of blue zones, we just added a new one on the 3rd floor at Webster, on the Bishop side near the computer workstations. As always, feel free to let us know what you think.

5 thoughts on “Ban the cells

  1. Anonymous

    I find this blog very political. I study in the library too and I NEVER see any rounds done. In fact, staff have told me that they lack manpower to do rounds and still keep up with their regular job duties.

    If between 1 – 6 PM on a WEEKDAY and a regular school day, there is not a single person coming by the 4th floor (as an example) doing a round, then as far as I’m concerned, there are no rounds done.

    It’s quite a shame. Concordia doesn’t seem to be able to offer its students a proper study environment. This to be is a key aspect of any higher learning institution, and quite frankly is a detriment to Concordia’s reputation.

    Students have suggested for months that the library institute tangible consequences for noise (such as loss of library privileges). Other universities, with possibly higher standards, do this. Why can’t Concordia?

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve been complaining for months (and months) on this suggestion box about the the amount of cell phone users shouting into their phones in the staircases (which disturb the supposed blue zones). Yet nothing seems to be done regarding this matter – students continue to shout into their cell phones in the staircases and even whilst sitting in cubicles in the supposed blue zones. I say ‘supposed blue zones’ because cell phones are apparently meant to be banned and this is supposed to be a silent area but people are still talking into their cell phones… are my comments here regarding this a waste of time (as nothing seems to be done regarding this matter) or will the library staff actually take action to do something about this? This is meant to a library isn’t it? So why are so many students allowed to freely talk loudly into their cell phones and disrespect the ‘blue zones’ as such?

    I agree – the Concordia library on SGW campus is not a place for quiet study. I never see staff monitoring or doing the rounds. Hence the library feels more like a club where people come to socialize and talk on their cell phones than a place for silence and academic work. How can the institution be therefore taken seriously if students make such a joke out of the library?

  3. Anonymous

    I agree, while some blue zones are better than other, groups often congregate there and chit chat together, making it very hard to study. It also seems that the concept that they are required to mute, or at least placing their cell on vibrate is required in a blue zone.

    Even the orange zones, people need to understand are not meant for group work, and when you speak together, whispering is important, not talking loudly.

    Weekends seem to be the worst for this.

    That having been said, I welcome the new power upgrades and the introduction of the blue and orange zones.

  4. Anonymous

    I have a novel idea… Use your “voice mail” or missed call feature and return calls when you leave the library to get that umpteenth cup of coffee, or go out for a cigarette or whatever else you need to do (like sleep at home) to regain your concentration to continue studying. There are so few very urgent calls. Your friends will develop resilience and maybe their creativity if you make them wait.

  5. Anonymous

    This is why I never leave home without my iPod and a pair of earbuds to tune out inconsiderate library goers. Practically speaking, this is a great way to deal with the type of individual who’s careless and disregards their surroundings. In this case, answering their phone in the library and talking loudly while others are trying to study.

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