Greetings, I asked the person at the Reference Desk today to enforce the cell phone policy in the computer area (as posted) and he replied that those signs are about to be taken down. Big mistake that could result in physical violence. So not only will we continue to see people eating from pizza boxes and dinner plates complete with forks while seated at computers, we will now have to put up with loud cell phone conversations? My bachelors and masters are from larger universities, so I have a point of reference from which to judge. Next, cigarette ashtrays to each computer station and study desk in the library?
From: a graduate student
Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services replies...
I am glad you asked for help at the reference desk and were told that our policy regarding cell phones has indeed changed. I'm also sorry that some pre-existing
signs remained in place. They should have been removed when the new signs were posted and we have now taken them down.
I understand your concern about noise levels, and appreciate your sharing them with us. Cabell Library attracts thousands of students each day, sometimes well in excess of 11,000 per day at the height of the semester. This is far more traffic than the building received when it opened in 1975 to support a student population of only 16,000 - half today's number.
The large numbers of students using the library do create noise issues. These issues won't be fully resolved until new library space can be added on the Monroe Park Campus. As a result, students have asked that we create more quiet space. Just this summer we did so, by making both the 3rd and 4th floors quiet study areas. The 4th floor is the "silent" floor, where even texting or use of headphones is not permitted in order to reduce stray noise that might be distracting to those studying. If you are seeking a quiet study environment, these are the floors for you. And, because you are a graduate student, you can also ask the Circulation Desk staff for access to the John Mapp Graduate Study and Reading Room on the 4th floor (just adjacent to the Special Collections and Archives Department). The Mapp Room includes computer access, as well as seating and study tables.
Conversely, for the 1st and 2nd floors we have followed the lead of a number of university libraries that have relaxed their cell phone policies. Cabell's 1st and 2nd
floors are intended for collaborative activity that includes conversation. Our signage indicates, however, that cell phone use that is not disruptive is permissible. If a cell phone conversation exceeds normal conversational tones, please do alert security
or service desk staff who will help resolve the situation. We will also remind 1st floor service desk staff that loud cell phone conversations are not permitted.
Thank you again for bringing your concern to me. Your experience using the library is extremely important to us.