Category Archives: cell phones

Noisy cell phones use

You wrote:

Use of Cellphone — I do hope someone look at this issue in a serious manner. On the third floor, Girls’ washroom and behind media shelves have become people’s cellphone sanctuary.  I do not see why other students have to listen to other
individuals social life, especially when they are loud,disrespectful and no courtesy towards other students. This events are happening constantly. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing this with us.  In our rounds, we will pay special attention to this area.  In the meantime, here is a post from almost one year ago on this very subject.  When using a cell phone, please keep in mind that no one else is interested in your conversation.

Cell phone noise

You wrote:

Is it possible to do something about the students going to speak on their phones in the staircases? it’s like when they get there they just don’t care that they are
still technically in the library and talk for good 20 minutes on their phones with their outside voices.  Also some seem to think that the last staircase on the
3rd floor that goes no where is a new type of cafeteria and they sit there just talking amongst each other, taking a break from their studies, which I totally
understand, just go do it somewhere we won’t hear you.  If there could be more security on the 3rd floor it would be greatly appreciated, thank you!


I’m happy that the library is doing more to enforce silence in the blue zone but maybe post signs up that say even if your phone is on vibrate it still makes
noise and everyone in the surrounding area can hear it buzz or vibrate on the table. So far that seems to be the most annoying thing, people can easily put their phone on silent and have it on the table and they’ll see it light up and answer the message or whatever.

Thank you for your emails.  They are good reminders for all of us to exercise proper cell phone etiquette.  Emily Post was considered the ultimate expert on good manners and the Emily Post Institute has a page on the top ten cell phone manners.  Number 7 on the list reads,

Don’t make calls in a library, theater, church or from your table in a restaurant. Without exception, turn your device off in a house of worship, restaurant, or theater; during a meeting or presentation; or any time its use is likely to disturb others.

You can see the entire list here.

Student sets up FB page to support silence

You wrote:

Please monitor the blue zones. The amount of people constantly talking is disturbing. I simply don’t understand why people come to the library to socialize. This is the only place where I’d expect a quiet place to study. Every day I have to tell people to go talk elsewhere, and I am tired of being polite with people who disrespect the rules in place.


The library is so noisy. students are constantly talking to their neighbours, talking on their cell phones and making noise in the blue zones. … What should I do?


The Webster library at Concordia used to be a great place to study up until a few years ago; now, however, it is anything but a quiet place it is meant to be.
There are a considerable number of people that have absolutely no respect for those who are there to get a few hours studying done; not only use of cell phones and talking out loud have become completely normal, but some idiots even play songs on their computers and bang on the wall like animals. I believe this is certainly not the first complaint regarding the noise issue, and I am positive that responsible personnel are doing everything possible to solve this problem…but enough is enough.



I am an undergraduate student in Political Science. Many students don’t respect silent study zones in the library and it can be very frustrating for other students.

I do understand that the funds for staff to enforce silence in the library might be lacking, so I thought that maybe students could participate in enforcing the silent rule of the blue zones. I created a Facebook page where students could join together so as to stand for these places to remain silent while they are present.

Could it be possible for you to advertise the Facebook page and invite students to join it. If not, do you have any other strategies to enforce the library rules?

Here is a link to the Facebook page:

If you have any request of change in order to promote it, it will be a pleasure to comply with your requests.

Thank you very much for taking this initiative.  As we continue to look for ways to improve the situation, it is good to see students also accepting some of the
responsibility in ensuring that the Libraries remain a place of serious study.

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.

Cell phone use in the washrooms

You wrote:

The women’s washroom on the second floor is used as a de facto telephone booth. The problem is their voices echo right through the door. The solution would be to ensure the second inner door to the restroom is not propped open. Can you make it so?

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  It is probably the cleaning staff that props up the second door to wheel in their equipment more easily.  We will ask them to close the door when they have finished cleaning the washrooms.  In the meantime, if you notice that the door is propped open, please feel free to close it.

Printing from the catalogue

You wrote:

When printing out the catalogue info to pick up a book, I was a bit frustrated to note that the information somehow is spread over three pages in print form. It could easily fit on only one! Not only is this a waste of money and paper, but isn’t there a way to set the print previews so that it only takes up the printing it warrants? Thanks.

Wasting money and paper to print blank or useless pages happens all too often and is always frustrating. Thanks for writing about this. The best way to ensure “optimal” printing from the CLUES screen for a book you want is to use the print icon on the right, just beside the RefWorks button. This should normally avoid any wasted pages, and it provides you with a good preview of what you are about to print.  If it doesn’t help with your problem, please write back to us and include your email so we can find out more about your particular situation. We never include email addresses in our online posts, we use them only for personal exchanges.

And as a side note, there is a new feature in CLUES that allows you to text the book info to your cell phone instead of printing. To learn more about it, see this Bibliofile article.

Noise on the Second Floor

You wrote:

 The noise level on the second floor, particularly in the hall way between the circulation desk and Room203, is very high. Here, students talk unnecessarily loud to one another and have loud, lengthy conversations on their cell phones whilst sitting on the hallway seats. I recently saw a student sitting on these seats in the hallway playing music from her laptop. Also recently, another student in the hallway was having a very long and loud conversation on Skype – without using headphones – so I could hear his conversation from Room 203 (even though the door was shut). The amount of loud socializing that goes on in this hallway makes me feel that I am at a party rather than a university library.

The computer lab on the second floor (Room 203) is wonderful because of its 24 hour access and because of the fact that the computers are of better
quality/faster speed than the other computers in the library. But because the room is located on the 2nd floor, the noise coming from the hallway makes concentration and working in the lab often difficult. Worse, the sound echoes in the hallway, and so the “Blue Zone/Silent Study” space of Room 203 doesn’t feel like a quiet space at all.

I only expect this noise level to get worse as of now since we are coming to the end of the semester so more students will be using the library. But given this crucial time of year with deadlines approaching, the need for respecting quiet is of more importance. Can something be done concerning the high noise volume in the hallway of the second floor? How are students
expected to write papers and do online research on the computers on the second floor when the noise level is so high? I often think of the second floor as a place where students socialize and talk on their cell phones versus quietly doing work and respecting that other students are there to do work.

Can’t cell phone conversations be limited to the first floor of the library building but not allowed within the library itself?

Thanks for your comments about the level of noise in the lobby area of the second floor of Webster Library. The area is currently unzoned. It’s neither a Blue Zone (silent) nor an Orange Zone (quiet) because of the traffic, the noise of people coming in and out of the library, people meeting each other in the lobby, and its proximity to service areas like the Circulation Desk and the Reference Desk where a lot of interaction takes place. However, you rightly point out that it is often quite noisy in this area. And yes, the noise of the lobby has an effect on the silent space in LB-203. We are open to reviewing the zones in the library, and perhaps the lobby area might need to be given a colour!

 We won’t ban cell phone use in the library. However, any loud conversation should not take place at the library, whether it’s on a cell phone or a live conversation between two people. A quiet cell phone conversation can be acceptable in the right location, such as an unzoned area. Obviously, people should not be talking on their cells in Blue Zones, but it’s okay in an unzoned area. The key issue is volume, not whether or not the person is using a cell phone.

 Thanks for voicing your concerns about the amount of noise in the lobby. We will consider whether it needs to be zoned like other areas in the Library.

Computers and Printers

You wrote:

I was just at the library to print something out. There was a lineup of about 10 people on the second floor while half the computers were being used to
watch Youtube and browse Facebook. The situation was similar on the 3rd floor; all the computers were taken but only half the people were doing work. In fact, there were a few people who were using the chairs to sit and chat. I only needed to use 1 computer for 2 minutes to send my documents to the printer, and I would have had to wait about 20-30 minutes, judging by the lineup. I know it was written before that the library doesn’t want to eliminate certain websites, but the computers are not recreational, they are meant to be used for schoolwork (and I was trying to print the documents I needed to read before class this week). Is there anything being done to regulate the computer usage?

On a more positive note, I did see 2 people being ushered out of the library because they were using their cellphones, and I do appreciate the quieter
atmosphere of the blue sections (although it is distracting to have people running in and out of the room to answer their phones every few minutes which is actually a problem I’ve encountered a few times).

Thanks for writing. I understand your frustration when you want to quickly print something and you need to wait in line to do so. Did you try using the Express Workstations on the second floor of the Webster Library? There is a time limit on those computers, and they may be faster to use for just printing. It is true that the computers at Concordia are intended to be used only for academic work; however, it is also true that we do not wish to limit the kinds of sites that students visit while they are on the Web. (Keep in mind that legitimate academic work can happen on Facebook and You Tube, although I do understand they are often used just for relaxing.) Concordia is a rapidly growing university, and at peak time we cannot always have enough computers for all the students that need them. It is our hope that students will use the computers for academic purposes so their fellow students can make their deadlines!

I am glad that you appreciate the quiet study zones! Thanks for your comments.

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.


You wrote:

Hello. I’ve been using Concordia’s Webster Library to study for many years.  Recently, I have started using Bibliotheque Nationale because it is quiet and the patrons do not chat or answer their cellular phones. Seeing as how I am a student at Concordia and pay tuition fees I feel that I should be able to study in a quiet library on campus.  There may be one guard  doing sweeps, but I have never seen any of them ask a student to lower his or her voice.  I have asked a security guard to speak to a student when they were very noisy, but that guard didn’t. I strongly feel that actions needs to be taken regarding the noise level in the library.  This includes the students chatting with each other, the use of ipods, and cell phones.


Security agents have a wide range of responsibilities when touring in either library. These include discouraging excessive noise and the presence of food or drink (except water), but as you have seen this is not always an easy matter. In our experience, security agents routinely show good judgment when deciding how and when to intervene, but if you believe an agent is not performing his/her duties, please make a note of the time and place where this occurred and e-mail a report to us.


As you may know, during term time the quiet environment for which you are searching can more often be found at Vanier Library on the Loyola campus than at our busy downtown Webster Library.