And the debate goes on....how quiet should a library be? At the Cherokee Public Library we have mixed opinions and this last week we had a patron strongly express their displeasure in how noisy our library is.
All I can say is libraries have changed just as many other facilities have. I do not find many places to be quiet these days including churches and hospitals. Everywhere you go people are talking on cell phones, kids are screaming and running and loud voices seem to be the norm. That's a hard thing for (dare I say it?) older people who grew up in the days of shushing librarians and whispered library voices to understand. If I didn't work here, I probably wouldn't understand it either.....and yes I consider myself to be "older."
It's easy to blame children for noise and commotion but I can't always do that at the library. It's true during kid's activities, after school and on Saturdays that may be the case, but many times adults carrying on conversations either in person or on cell phones are just as annoying. And I'm sure there are times the staff including myself could be covered in that statement.
The trend in public libraries and actually the popular push by library gurus is to be a social center and a place that people congregate. We want the atmosphere to be welcoming and comfortable. We want the library to be a place that people like to be. We don't want it to be scary and formal or cold and unfriendly. All of that sometimes results in a noisy environment.
We enjoy hearing laughter coming from the children's department or chuckles from the book discussion group. We understand that babies and small children cry. We acknowledge that people have allergies and may cough and sneeze. And we get it that cell phones are now a fact of life and impossible to control.
So, if you are one who would really like to see our library with volume control, I'm sorry, but it isn't going to happen. We will do our best to address a complaint and I still can use my shushing voice whether it be for a kid running down the stairs or an adult talking to a friend in the newspaper section, but there is not going to be absolute peace and quiet all the time. The library is a vibrant happening place and the noise level reflects it.
Don't forget to check out the book baskets that will go on display the first of November. From the ones I'm seeing come in the door, I predict another good fund raising event. The Friends group is busy organizing and wrapping and we look forward to another successful year. Final bids will be accepted on Saturday, December3 at noon.