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Know the etiquette for "quiet" and "silent" in Cabell

August 3, 2016

Complaints about noise in James Branch Cabell Library were up last spring. This semester, patrons will see more signs, posters and social media posts about keeping "quiet" and reminding users that the third and fourth floors are designated “quiet.” Some spaces on the fourth floor are designated “silent.”

Common complaints received during spring semester 2016 regarded cell phone use and noise from third and fourth floor study rooms.

As the fall semester begins, users are reminded that they are expected to:  

  • Recognize that study rooms on the third and fourth floors are on QUIET floors. Keep voices low. If you are with a group that needs a lot of conversation, reserve study rooms on the second or first floors.

  • Refrain from making cell phone calls anywhere on the third and fourth floors. This includes study rooms, stairwells, elevators and restrooms.  

"We are in an academic library and strive to create an environment where people can accomplish both group work and individual work,” says Laura Gariepy, who helps manage public services for Cabell as the head of the Teaching, Learning and Information department. “We depend on users to know the volume etiquette of the library and to work together to create places that are conducive to reading and studying."

Patrons should politely let fellow users know if the noise levels rise too high or text the Information Desk, which is staffed around-the-clock. The text number is (804) 435-5420.

* * *

The new Cabell Library opened for full use in spring semester 2016. Its open and airy design changed the reality of "silence" or "quiet" in some spaces. Previously, all of the fourth floor was designated for “silent study.” Much-needed new study rooms on formerly “silent” and “quiet” floors were added to meet high demand. These glassed-in study rooms are not soundproof. The new third floor Lecture Hall is used several times weekly. These programs bring in hundreds of lecture-goers.

“We’ve received a few complaints from students. Those have been eloquent and helpful to us in looking at the new normal of noise levels in Cabell,” said Dennis Clark, associate university librarian for research and learning. “We've made some changes to respond to students’ needs.”

  • Both upper floors are now "Quiet.” No cell phone conversations, no sound bleed from earphones. Voices low (at a whisper). Patrons will keep conversations as quiet as possible in group study rooms or in public areas on these floors as people come and go.

  • Events in the Lecture Hall will periodically disrupt that quiet. These are temporary and scheduled in advance so students can plan to use other spaces. Signs will be posted.

  • Silent study spaces are now designated as spaces behind sound barriers/closed doors. All these are on the fourth floor. These designated spaces for silent study offer more than 175 new seats for fall 2016. They are:

--The original silent study space on the fourth floor behind the double doors, approximately 125 seats.

--Graduate Student and Faculty Research Center, fourth floor, 85 seats, Room 402

--The new Silent Reading Room, fourth floor, 90 seats, Rooom 403

Etiquette in these rooms: Silence, no cells, no sound bleed from earphones. Enter and exit as quietly as possible. (The doors can be noisy.)

The lower level, first and second floors continue to be collaborative and conversational work environments. Cell phone conversations and quiet conversations allowed. Please do not use cell phones in any restroom on any floor.

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