Noise Levels in Public Libraries

Discussing how the changing standard for noise levels have changed and how it reflects what the public wants can be a great article.

There’s certainly been a sea-change over the last twenty years in the way public libraries operate. The still culturally resonant idea of librarians shushing people for making too much noise is now confined to the imagination.

Indeed, the librarians at my nearby public library seem to make a point of conducting their own conversations as loudly as possible so that the world understands libraries have changed.

There are book discussion groups, and children’s groups (with sing-alongs) and there are people clacking away at computers and often being assisted by very vocal staff.

It’s sometimes startlingly noisy in there. You could get more work done in a football stadium.

I’m a curmudgeon, so I don’t much like it. In my mind, a library remains leathery, austere and dense with pipe-smoke. People gaze at you suspiciously over pince-nez if your chair creaks.

But I understand and accept the alteration. The nature of the services libraries provide has had to alter to reflect both the technology and the people they serve. They’ve evolved into sort of "community hubs" as a way to remain relevant. If they hadn’t, there’d have been many more closures, which would be a worse situation than having to listen to a bunch of three year olds singing "The Wheels on the Bus" while you choose your books and go elsewhere.

  • Well I feel as a library worker I should say I would be good at this topic! (although I will need to wait until I have a bit more time) I personally love seeing the events in libraries, I am responsible for running serveral of them! To fit into the arts section there wold have to be some analysis as to why it is going this way: The main reason I think is because libraries used to be in place as an are for acedemic study and learning. Nowadays, school and uni libraies serve that purpose but public libraries are about enteratinment more than academia... – Francesca Turauskis 9 years ago
  • Out of the scope of The Artifice. But if one has to be creative, maybe approaching the subject from a different angle... Like, the evolution of relationships between societies and books. Certainly, the idea of a library as a place to go, sit and read (just read) is very constricting. Also, there are different types of libraries and different uses of libraries around the world. Let's not forget that most libraries are funded and funding needs to be justified in economies with more and more pressure from people who think culture and knowledge are not primary needs... – T. Palomino 1 year ago

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