This library is so loud. Why is it acceptable for students to talk on their phones while here?! Also, I am finding that many of them are so rude that they are now talking to them on speaker phone! It has gotten out of hand and I really wish that library staff would say something. I have started going to the Seminary Library because I cant stand trying to work on papers or study when people are talking on the phones. Enough is enough, this needs to be addressed immediately.
From: a graduate student
Patricia Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, responds...
Thank you very much for letting us know about your negative experiences with library patrons using cell phones. There is a direct answer to your question and that is that cell phone use is not permitted in the building, except within stairwells and the entry vestibule (e.g. outside the main library doors of Cabell). However, as you have observed, the reality is more complex. The library is extremely crowded this year. Many days this semester more than 10,000 people have entered the building. With so many in the building, enforcing noise regulations becomes extremely challenging.
First, offering my understanding about how frustrating it can be to try to study amidst people breaking noise rules, here is what I can offer:
-Last year VCU Libraries hired two full-time security guards. We are one of very few departments on campus who hire their own security people, but the libraries did so to help keep Cabell Library secure and to enforce regulations.
-This past year the library rezoned Cabell spaces to offer more quiet study areas. The entire 4th floor is quiet study. The Linden Street side of the 4th floor in particular often has available seats even at the
library's busiest hours. In addition, a portion of the second floor was designated quiet study. Though not designated as such, the Linden Street side of the third floor which has a line of study carrels remains fairly quiet.
-As part of the 4th floor renovation, the new John Mapp Graduate Study and Reading Room was constructed. It will open in early December. Graduate students like yourself will be able to check out a key card from Circulation to gain access to the room. Soon you will also be able to request that your own VCU ID be set up to provide you entry to it.
-We are discussing how we might expand publicity of our cell phone use policy. Unfortunately, many library patrons are either missing or ignoring it.
-We are working with CLUAC (Cabell Library Undergraduate Advisory Committee) on a publicity campaign that encourages respect for library materials and fellow patrons.
Finally, I sympathize with the frustrations brought on by the noise and crowding. Don't hesitate to report problems to the security guards. They will act to request appropriate phone use of those breaking the rules.
Please know that we share a deep concern with you about noise and disorder in Cabell Library. Cabell Library was constructed in 1975, and because of the growth of library collections and the allocation of some of its space to University offices, it now provides 40% less space for students in 2007 than it did in 1975, for a student population that has doubled in size since then. VCU's library buildings had an original planned capacity of 1 million volumes maximum, but now house nearly 2 million volumes, almost 200% of the planned capacity. These basic figures translate into a building that is very very crowded, where seats are often filled from early in the morning until late in the evening, and where noise control is a recurring issue. The long-term solution is an addition to Cabell Library that will relieve the tremendous overcrowding in the building, because the overcrowded conditions limit just how much we can do to control noise. The University Librarian is working closely with University leadership, communicating information about the needs.