The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Library Etiquette

Making the Trible Library a respectful space for studying
Triple Library, photo by Savannah Dunn

The Trible Library plays a vital role on our campus, allowing students a place to study and complete assignments. While the desks in our rooms are supposed to encourage the idea of studying, many have tried and failed to use their dorm rooms as a workspace. Our brains like separate locations for each task; they want both a rest space and a workspace. Thankfully, we have the Trible Library, where all students can study without distraction!

Or so we would like to think.

Despite what I thought was the unspoken consensus on library etiquette, it takes simply a few scrolls on Yik Yak to see complaints about the inconsideration in the library. Friends will loudly chat as they find somewhere to work. Groups will loudly laugh, yell, and even sing in the study rooms – clearly under the misconception that the doors are somehow soundproof. 

The general buzz of the first floor is hardly the problem, with its proximity to the entrance and Einstein’s Cafe inevitably bringing a reasonable amount of sound. However, that is precisely why a large number of students study on the second and third floors. We need quiet places to complete our assignments, and not everyone can pop in noise-canceling earbuds to tune out the chatter. Those who do need to talk while completing their work can reside in study rooms. If people could just be courteous to others, then this system would work. 

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However, people continue to shamelessly talk outside of study rooms. And these aren’t whispers or short sentences. I have heard about some girl’s pregnancy scare at full volume while trying to read Machiavelli. See, that’s the thing about libraries. They are supposed to be quiet spaces, which is why your gossip travels to unsuspecting ears so easily. 

But if those girls had gone into a study room to spread rumors about their dear friend, the problem would be solved, wouldn’t it? It would be, if it weren’t for the continued misuse of the study rooms. What people fail to understand is that those rooms are not soundproof. You can speak at a normal volume, yes. Congratulations. But to yell, shriek, or even sing in the study rooms with the expectation that others will not hear you is preposterous. We can’t even have 24/7 library access anymore; do you really think CNU soundproofed every study room?

To put it simply, you are not important. Nobody is hankering to hear you and your friends have a good time in the study rooms. Nobody wants to see you running through the halls. And your friend surely doesn’t need people knowing her business. This just comes down to a lack of empathy. If you were the one silently trying to review for an exam, would you really want to hear a bunch of strangers treating the library like a hangout spot? We all pay tuition. We all have an equal claim over the library space. In shared spaces, it is important that we, as adults, remain considerate of others and the primary purpose of the Trible Library.

There are a few potential solutions to address various aspects of the lack of library etiquette. First, the reinstatement of 24-hour access to the library would lessen congestion because it would allow for early morning and late night studying, both of which tend to be high-productivity hours for college students. Second, the library needs to stop being a hang-out spot. There are a multitude of places on campus that are designated for student use however they see fit. Residence halls have multi-purpose rooms and study rooms, the DSU has the Crow’s Nest and the Multicultural Student Lounge, and there are lots of indoor and outdoor places to sit and chat scattered throughout campus. Even if the library is the only place available to you, use Einstein’s! Finally, respect for the fact that a library is a quiet work or study space needs to be reinstated. CNU is, first and foremost, a university. Most of the student body is paying a lot to attend, and they aren’t paying to hear the soundtrack of The Lion King being belted from a study room while they are trying to do homework. 

The common thread between all of these issues really boils down to a lack of respect for the library and other people. 

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