Nothing’s quiet on the library front

With finals rapidly approaching, the Student Government Association (SGA) is working with the staff of the New Library on a campaign to reduce noise.

“Students are complaining about other students talking to their friends or even on their cell phones while in the library, even in a secluded area like in a corner on the fourth floor,” Jen Hill, senator of Culture and Society, said.

Many of the problems have occurred on the third and fourth floors of the library, according to Hill. On these more secluded floors, “one person talking softly on their cell phone carries the noise a long way,” Hill said.

Taras Pavlovsky, dean of the library, said he met with Hill and Chris Rindosh, vice chairman of Student Services, to find a solution to the problem.

The initial conclusion reached at the Oct. 13 meeting was a table tent campaign. The idea to put table tents in the library was later changed to posters to be hung in the elevators and other key locations.

Pavlovsky said he was “very hesitant” to post too many signs. He hopes that fewer signs will be able to get the message across effectively to library patrons. “Less is more,” Pavlovsky said.

While the signs will be used as the primary deterrent against noise, Pavlovsky emphasized that students in the library have the right to address noise issues themselves.

Pavlovsky said that all library users should realize they can go to a library staff member and ask for help if they feel uncomfortable confronting someone about noise.

“The library has told us that they would like students to feel more comfortable saying something to a disruptive neighbor,” Hill said. “(Pavlovsky) also reminded me that there are telephones on every floor, and that it is perfectly acceptable to call the front desk and ask for assistance if you don’t want to confront your noisy neighbor.”

Pavlovsky emphasized that it is important for students to address loud situations themselves, particularly because library usage is increasing as finals approach. According to Pavlovsky, the library sometimes sees more than 4,800 visitors in a single day during the last week of classes.

“(The library) will just get more packed,” Pavlovsky said. Noise, he said, is sure to come along with the increased volume of patrons.

Besides cell phones and loud conversations, the new caf? in the library has been a source of noise. However, both Hill and Pavlovsky said that students on the first floor have shown understanding of the fact that the caf? produces noise.

Pavlovsky said that although the caf? is loud, “we knew it’d be loud.”

According to Steve Hugg, director of Marketing and Business Development for Sodexho, the noise coming from the library caf? has been discussed at previous dining services meetings.

“Any noise from this area is an unfortunate side effect of a successful addition to the campus community,” Hugg said. He also said that Sodexho would be willing to work with the College to reduce the noise if necessary.

Hill said the bulk of complaints SGA has heard have come from isolated incidents rather than any constant source of noise. “Many students have told me that they have had to grin and bear it; others have told me they simply walk out in disgust,” she said.

The exact wording of the signs has yet to be determined, but Hill said she believes the signs will remind students to reduce noise and tell them what they can do if someone else is being loud.