Shut up and read or get up and leave

by Amanda Gilmore

You’ve got an eight-page paper to write that’s due tomorrow, or maybe it’s a cumulative exam in your most difficult class. You’re staring at a blank Word document, or re-reading that same page from your notebook three times because you just can’t concentrate. How can you? There’s too much chatter and distraction around you. Why not go to the library, then?

You did.

It’s actually the library commotion that is the source of your distress. Students are getting fed up with the noise level at our library. Who’s to blame? Sadly, other students are.

“People don’t seem to understand that libraries are supposed to be quiet. Most people coming in are loud,” said Kara Moran, senior English and history major. “Twice as many come in talking on the phone. I guess they forgot to read, otherwise they wouldn’t have missed the numerous ‘No Cellphone Usage’ signs.”

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Moran’s experience is common. The lack of respect students show each other while in the library is increasingly disturbing and, frankly, just downright annoying to those students who expect a quiet library experience. A crazy expectation to have about a library, right? Multiple students have reached out to The Minstrel, asking us to speak on behalf of a very perturbed student body.

In the meantime, many students have just given up on using the library as a study space altogether.

“I never go to the library. It’s way too loud,” said Rachel Formale, senior psychology major. “People should learn not to scream to their friends in a place that’s meant for getting work done.”

Senior physician assistant major Andrew Lapsley has seen similar disruptive behavior.

“People run, laugh and listen to music. Each major has its culprits, so no one group is to blame,” said Lapsley. “Everyone studies differently, but the library is a designated quiet area. Not your study style? That’s fine. Go somewhere else.”

Sadly though, it is often the respectful, focused students, determined to finish their work, who are the first to leave the library. But when you can’t get work done there, where else can you go?

“I either go to Dooling or just stay in my room because it’s not even worth it,” said Katie De Marco, sophomore sport and exercise science major.

Ironically, Formale finds that some social spaces tend to be better suited for studying.

“I usually just try to study in the lounge or something, but that’s hard too because sometimes people go out there to hang out and talk,” said Formale. “But most of the time it’s better than the library.”

Moran often resorts to a bold, yet simple solution to the problem.

“I usually ignore it by listening to music through earphones, but when I need to really concentrate, I have to pretend I’m one of the librarians to tell them to be quiet. Otherwise, they wouldn’t take me seriously,” said Moran.

So here is a more public request for library silence, my fellow students. When you’re in the library, please keep in mind that it is not a social space. You are only going to look like an inconsiderate, uncivilized child that hasn’t learned how to properly behave in public yet.

We all see your juvenile behavior, and it’s probably more of an annoyance than you imagine it to be.

Take junior forensic biology student Lauren Koval’s situation, for example.

“There was an entire table of girls who decided they should have their social hour where everyone else was trying to study. They were on their phones, playing music and having no regard for anyone else,” said Koval. “It’s so disturbing and something needs to be done to change it. I would have stepped up to say something, but I’m sure my lonely army of one would not have changed much. If we could make something happen as a group, that would be awesome.”

Here is the first step to that change. Let’s get the word out that students have had enough of this immature behavior. It’s amazing what a little peer-to-peer guilt trip can accomplish. Share this post on your wall and re-tweet it. Let the rest of the student body know that this is an important issue.

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