To Shh or Not to Shh That is the Question

Lane Cove Library is a busy place.  It has one of the highest lending rates in NSW.  For the second week running the North Shore Times Letters to the Editor have included letters from Lane Cove residents complaining about the noise in the Lane Cove Library.

Libraries have evolved.  Today they are cultural and community centers where residents can borrow books, enjoy workshops and obtain information.  There is now a conflict between quiet and active use.  There is no doubt that at certain times of the day the Lane Cove library is noisier (especially after school).

The CEO of the Australian Library and Information Association, Sue McKerracher, told the ABC that the old-fashioned cliche of the shushing librarian was gone.  Many librarians now defend the noise from young children, arguing public libraries have a significant role in child literacy and development.

Fleur Morrison in an Huffington Post Article explained the concept of the Modern Library

Modern libraries play an important role, not in upholding a sense of academic excellence and intellectual superiority among users, but in their inclusivity. They are places where people of all demographics can come together and enjoy the free use of a public space. The elderly and the young, parents and students all harmoniously share the library. It is an opportunity for integration between the generations that is rarely available elsewhere, but is beneficial to both the old and the young. Education opportunities available through libraries further serve to close the generational gap, with elderly people offered tutorials on the use of IT to help them navigate the technological age. And while library users may not necessarily converse or engage with each other, crucially, they are not alone, helping to alleviate the loneliness that is becoming the scourge of our time.


What is Lane Cove Library’s Policy on Noise?

The Lane Cove Library’s policy on noise is quite black and white

Lane Cove Library does have several quiet rooms for studying.  Other libraries have peaceful places.  These are rooms where there are no mobile phones, taking or group work.  Should Lane Cove library have this type of room?

So what noise is acceptable?  Even whispering can be annoying.  Do you put a time limit on whispered conversations before you demand silence?  Should you choose the time of day you visit the library when you know it will be quieter?

What do you think should Libraries be a place of quiet or is a bit of noise acceptable?

Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]

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