Category Archives: staff

Freda Otchere Staff Recognition Award

As editors of the Libraries’ Suggestion Box, we get to read many comments, including critical, constructive and encouraging. While we never include information about individual staff members on the blog, we often receive positive comments about great service and jobs well done. Here is your chance to offer your thanks or congratulations to someone in particular:

Freda Otchere Staff Recognition Award

The Freda Otchere Staff Recognition Award is established “to encourage and reward staff currently working for Concordia Libraries whose commitment and professionalism reflect the values exemplified by Freda Otchere”.

This award is made possible through the generous gift of Dr. Dan Otchere, Associate Professor of Economics at Concordia University, who created the Freda Otchere Endowment Fund in 2010 in honour of his wife. From 1970 to 2004, Freda Otchere served the Concordia University Libraries as cataloguer and Head of Database Maintenance. Her exemplary service to the Concordia community is warmly remembered, and provides the model by which nominees are identified.

The award is made to any current employee (full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary) who, in the course of the previous year, performed an outstanding service that bears witness to individual honesty, courage, perseverance and integrity. The first recipient will be announced in January 2012.  Nominations are now being sought.

Anyone may nominate a library employee for this award. Further details are provided on the nomination form, available at this link: Library Staff Award Nomination Form.

Completed nomination forms must be submitted by November 15, 2011, to:
David Thirlwall
Associate University Librarian, Personnel & Communications or by mail S-LB 209-5

Noise near Service Area

You wrote:

It would be a good idea to remind the staff to keep it a little down, especially during the finals. I am doing a huge research project on one of your computers and the staff is actually meeting out with their friends (I suppose, since they’re laughing together and have been for the last 10 minutes). I have definitely nothing against having fun at work but there is a limit when you are working in a specific field.

We are students and we need some calm, which is exactly the reason why I came all the way here. I have no words to express how let down I am. I ask at the desk that it would be appreciated if they would pay a special attention to this and I am told that if I am not happy, I should rent a laptop and go to the blue section. Isn’t the orange section I am in supposed to be quiet, still? And I have a laptop, I just feel more comfortable doing my work on a desktop… what’s my solution?  I thought the library was there for us, and I am extremely unhappy now.

Thanks for letting us know about this incident. I am sorry to hear about your disappointing experience. Your preference for working at a computer workstation rather than with a laptop is perfectly legitimate. Workstations located near service areas can be problematic if you are hoping for consistent quiet, however, since occasional noise disturbances are unavoidable there. Though the discussion you witnessed may well have been social, we also assist library patrons there, and it is easy to slip into conversational tones in these instances.

The computer lab LB 203 is a silent blue zone that offers workstations and you would have a good chance of working in silence there for the next few weeks, though this will no longer be a solution in September and October when the room will be reserved for library workshops.

There is currently no perfect permanent solution for students who wish to work in silence at computer workstations, though it is something we are looking at. Your comment will be on the agenda at our next noise and staff meetings.  Thanks again for writing to us.

Slamming book trucks

You wrote:

I find concordia has a great library; however, I understand that it is important for staff to return the books and require a cart to move the books, but every time they make a huge noise and they slam between the elevator and 3rd and 4th floor. Many graduate students and undergraduate students are trying to study and yes their job is important but they should care about sharing a quiet studying environment for everyone. instead of blasting their headphones and going thru the ailes.

Thank you for your comment.  You are right.  We are all responsible for ensuring a quiet environment in the libraries.  We apologize for the inconvenience of noise made by staff members working. Book carts loaded with books are heavy and not always easy to manouevre. Empty book carts tend to rattle and be noisy as well. Nevertheless, your complaint has been noted.

If you require a silent study space, you may be glad to know that LB201 reopened yesterday.  It is a blue, silent study zone.

Summer-time not so quiet

You wrote:

When I come to the library I expect a relatively quiet environment. Ten minutes ago I had to leave the table where I was trying to work on my thesis because of a woman working for the library throwing books into one of those carts making a lot of noise. When I asked her to please stop throwing the books and making noise she didn’t apologize, she didn’t even answer me, she started talking to another woman who said she would call her supervisor. I don’t have time to waste and I don’t care about her supervisor, this is supposed to be a library. How does Concordia expect its students to work? Is it too much to ask for a little respect from people working at the library?

Thank you for communicating with us. I am sorry that you had a negative experience in the library yesterday. It seems that part of our collection at the Webster Library is being shifted. Sometimes in the process of moving the items from shelf to booktruck, books fall on the booktruck and this can cause noise. It is difficult to avoid. It is regrettable, but certain projects must move forward and we have to take advantage of the quieter, summer months to complete them.

Thanks to your comment, we now have prepared signs advising users that work is in progress in that area and that may result in some noise.

It also seems that LB201 (the study hall on the 2nd floor) reopened yesterday, so you are welcome to using that area.

Best wishes to you as you work on your thesis!

Noise in the blue zone

Over the exam period, we received a number of suggestions and complaints about noise in the library. Here is one that we received last week:

You wrote:

This comment, like many, also concerns noise in the blue study zone areas.

 This afternoon, I was studying in the blue zone on the 4th floor Webster library. Throughout the afternoon, I was constantly interrupted by people on their cell phones, having conversations, and basically disregarding the “silent study” rule. Often when approached, they were responsive, but many times they were not as well. Not once did I see a library staff or security guard walk around the area quieting people.

 I approached a woman at the counter and asked her for assistance in keeping the area quiet. She simply informed me that it’s not her job, go get security on the 2nd floor if you want it dealt with. Not only have I read that we are encouraged to approach any library staff, there was no security guard to been on the 2nd floor. The circulation desk just told me they’re trying as well, but weren’t really able to help. They explained that often when they try, they get the same attitude from students that I would.

 I don’t agree with the idea that it takes people a while to adapt to these new rules. It’s not a very complex idea, such that you tell someone in elementary school that they cannot talk at all in a certain area, and they understand it.

 Besides the actual need for people to patrol the area, even if not always, but every 15-30 minutes, there needs to be actual deterrents for making noise. In an exam, students fully grasp the idea that they must not have their cell phones on their person because there are severe consequences. In the library, if they’re caught, they’re likely just to be told to “kindly stop”, and it’s not such a big deal to answer this 1 or 2 calls, or have this short little conversation with my friend.

 I highly suggest the library implement, if anything (due to the whole people need to adapt idea), a 3-strike policy. If you’re caught making noise 3 times by a library staff, who will take down your name, you simply lose your privilege to study in the library. Studying there shouldn’t be a right, but instead a privilege for those who respect the rules.

 In terms of attitude towards library staff, a local library in my area has instituted a rule that if you are rude to a library staff member, you lose your right to use the library for a predetermined amount of time. There shouldn’t be any excuse for students making noise in the library. We are all adult, and we don’t need 3+ months to learn how to keep quiet in specific areas.

 I totally understand and appreciate the fact the library has made an effort to control noise. However, a lot more needs to happen for it be effective.


Thank you for your comments and suggestions. 


Unruly Orange

You wrote:

When I’m sitting in the orange zones in the later afternoon I find the noise level intolerable, to the point where my noise reduction earphones do not block out the sound of people talking. It is especially bad on the 4th floor near the elevators. I have often seen members of staff moving around the area and they never say anything. How are we supposed to take the advice of complaining to staff seriously when they do not even take the initiative on their own?

The Library has dedicated staff members who roam the libraries assessing the noise levels. Please do continue to inform staff members when noise levels are excessive. If there are no staff members walking around, please report noise to a service desk.

Quiet Study

You wrote:

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. You have signs everywhere telling us to be quiet but when librarians are shelving they talk loudly to one another and push the carts into each other without any attempt at being quiet. In fact, a librarian just pushed the cart into the table I was studying at. Least of all it was rude, most of all it was loud.

 All of your signs indicate that librarians will respond to noise complaints yet each time I have complained I get a shrug and “I’ll see what I can do” with absolutely no result. I’m extremely frustrated with this institution’s inability to provide a quiet space! In all the university libraries I’ve studied in, Concordia is the worst. You need to seriously focus on providing a STUDY oriented atmosphere.

We have been working to gradually introduce an improved study environment at Concordia. For the most part, it has been successful, and we are open to your suggestions. Thank you for your comments. We do recommend that you approach someone at a service desk when you encounter noise that is unacceptable. This is the only way we can know what is happening and possibly intervene. Finally, we apologize for the inconvenience of noise made by staff members working. Book carts loaded with books are heavy and not always easy to manouevre. We hope this situation won’t happen again.


You wrote:

I am a part time student and don’t use the library that often. I used the library today (Sept. 29th) and was sincerely impressed with the help I received. I spoke to three library employees who all gave me excellent service. In particular, the staff member working at the periodicals department on the 3rd floor could not have done more. I even received a book bag in order to carry a heavy book. Thanks again!

You are very welcome, and thank you very much for writing. I am glad that you had such a good experience using the Library.