Keeping the peace in our libraries

Help minimize distractions at our University study spaces.

Marianne Baum

It is with frustration bordering on helpless rage that I address student behavior in University of Minnesota Libraries. I have sought the quietest spaces I can find, and still my work is interrupted by rude misconduct. I was taught at an early age to speak softly in the library and refrain from conversation out of respect for others. That was in the âÄô80s, before the invention of devices that constantly ring, beep, vibrate and otherwise annoy. Appropriately, our campus libraries have posted signs requesting that we limit phone conversations to stairwells and non-study spaces. However, some of todayâÄôs students are above the rules, judging from the frequency with which cell phones ring in study spaces. To my profound disgust, students actually answer the calls instead of turning off their devices or leaving the quiet space. A recent attempt to study in peace was thwarted in Wilson LibraryâÄôs âÄúdeep quietâÄù study room, where laptops, cell phones and conversation are explicitly prohibited. I enjoyed quiet for 10 minutes before my fellow students began to break the rules, answering phone calls and talking loudly. It is especially upsetting to be disrupted because there are so few designated quiet spaces anywhere on campus. Moreover, library hours of operation are limited, and some students do not have the option of studying at home when campus is closed. We need these areas to be quiet, free of technological disruption and other noise. On behalf of those who use quiet study spaces for their intended purpose, I implore my fellow students to respect one another and follow the rules. ItâÄôs simple: Turn your cell phone off when you enter a study space or computer lab. Use designated âÄúgroup studyâÄù rooms if you need to converse. I promise the world wonâÄôt end if you miss a phone call. Marianne Baum University undergraduate student