MRU Library Blog

Student Feedback – Noise

Submission:

Hello,
I’m concerned about the level of noise in the library. It seems that the only quite time are from 8am until 10am and from 6pm to 10pm. I (as well as many other students, I’m sure) find it very distracting to study. There are not very many places on campus to study and this one, very unfortunately, is extremely noisy. I think it would be more productive is those that wanted to talk did NOT sit in the libary disturbing others. There are more places to talk on campus than to study and those people should respect those that want to study. – Candice

Response:

Thank you for sharing your concerns relating to noise control in the Library. Balancing the demands for quiet study space and collaborative/conversational space in our very limited, very crowded space is an ongoing challenge in the Library.

We work hard in the Library to create a welcoming and respectful library environment that supports the needs of all learners. These needs vary dramatically, as I am sure you can appreciate, and balancing them is a challenge.  Many students complain about how noisy the library is, while others share a desire to have a place for group work/conversation. We encourage students to consider the needs of other library users.  Students are welcome to converse in a fashion that does not disrupt other library users.  However, if you are being disturbed by excessive noise from a nearby table or carrel, please feel free to let that person know he/she is disturbing you. You are also welcome to talk to someone at a service desk and we will be happy to address the situation.  Meanwhile, we also encourage students who need a particularly quiet setting in which to work to try the quiet areas at the back of the Library, between the book stacks and the windows.  Finally, if you are still unable to find a space that is quiet enough for you, the Info Desk can supply you with free earplugs.

15 thoughts on “Student Feedback – Noise

  1. I understand completely and share the same frustration; with regards to asking for help from the service desk, I have been given various responses unfortunately, none addressed the situation directly. I’ve been told: the library staff do “what they can but there’s nothing that really works” (so, basically saying “why bother”), if you can’t work here then go and find somewhere else (T or Y wing, for example) and, we’ll see what we can do (followed by nothing). The rules and regulations of the library are clearly stated on the blue cards on the table, with consequences for failure to adhere to these standards; the problem, is they’re not (or seem not to) be enforced. I’ve seen campus security once since September so far and otherwise no structure functioning in attempts to control noise. In addition I’ve noticed library staff actually setting a standard noise level with discussions amongst themselves which seems to make everyone else feel the need to abandon cause and contribute, thus making the situation worse. I feel based on what I have observed, the reliance is on the rules and regulations in place, but the words aren’t worth the paper they are written on; without active enforcement they are doing anything and more importantly, mean nothing. Libraries used to mean something, they were respected as places where students could go and work in peace and quiet; now the MRC library is a joke. There is no respect amongst students, no mutual understanding when you are sitting at a table reading or working that you wish to remain undisturbed – which should be self-evident. Why else would a person be in the library working if they wanted to hear all about someone else’s weekend, or what someone else is listening to or watching on their computer? As for asking the individual to please respect the quiet area, I have personally received either a rude glare and no response or a “whatever” or “yea I know”, but then continue with whatever they were doing without even attempting to change the noise level. But why should someone have to ask another to be quiet? If someone is in the library, or the silent reading areas in T or Y wing, it is implied the space should be void of auditory distractions, it is common sense. If you want to talk or listen to loud music or watch something loudly on your computer, there is a plethora of public areas which are set up for exactly that. In the end it is a respect issue. There needs to be at least one space (the Library or the silent reading rooms in T or Y wing) where it is guaranteed you can go and think clearly; each time you think you have found a space, someone else has decided to make themselves at home. But the main thing is there is no support for students seeking quiet, and by avoiding the issue, with rules posted everywhere but not enforced, it seems as though MRC/MRC Library is hoping the problem will just go away. Even as I sit in the library typing this, there are two tables openly having conversations, one group at the computers talking openly and three staff members just sitting at their computers without making any attempt to circulate and enforce the rules, which are clearly visible. This situation is very frustrating and the responses from MRC/Library staff just seem like excuses; unfortunately, it’s the students who are struggling with the issue who are paying the price. There just needs to be one space where you can go, which has rules being enforced or support for students seeking help, because that’s part of what we pay tuition for. It’s not fair but it seems hopeless because no one seems willing to do anything about it.

  2. I find that the library is too noisy to study in but at the same time It’s a convenient place to work on group projects. The public library near my house has a room filled with tables built into it for people who need a quieter environment so that people talking in the main area cannot disturb them. I know this is not a quick fix but maybe Mount Royal could consider this for the future as a possible project.

  3. Thank you all for taking the time to express your concerns and to offer suggestions about noise in the Library. As you noted, unfortunately noise has been an ongoing challenge given our very limited space and open design. Not to mention the sometimes competing needs of students. It was a good reminder too for all of us who work at the public service desks in the Library and I know everyone is being more careful about their volume.

    We are pursuing plans to renovate our Library viewing room and are considering this as a possible ‘silent’ study area. There are some things we might be able to do more immediately such as better designation of ‘very quiet’ study areas — maybe carrels for example. We will look closely at what quicker fixes might be possible.

    I would also like to extend an invitation to you, and any other student reading the blog, to consider becoming a member of our new Student Library Advisory Committee. The intent of this committee is to provide input and advice for the Library. This would include arising issues (such as noise management), service improvements and of course planning for our new Library and Learning Centre building. If you are interested, or if you want some more information, please feel free to send an email.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Keep them coming.

    Best,
    Carol Shepstone
    Director, Library

  4. Good evening,

    There is good reason why students who want to truly study avoid the library at all costs.

    I just went down there to print off some notes and while I was retrieving from my email a student at another computer answers his cell phone in a LOUD voice and carries on a conversation at the same volume. Neither of the employees at the desk even looked up, let alone got up and asked him to leave the library if he wanted to continue his conversation. I was looking at him and other students were but none of the library staff were – this is unacceptable.

    When I use to try to study in the library and received a call on my cell phone I would quietly get up and leave the library and not return until I was done.

    It is not a student’s responsibility to ask other students to be quiet – it is library staff’s responsibility to do that. I called a friend attending U of C and asked if this was an issue there and he said it wasn’t that it was kept quiet by library staff. When is this issue going to be taken seriously?

  5. I agree with all of the student comments about the noise in the library. I was in the library on a recent Saturday (February 7, I believe) when a male student received a call on his cell phone. He was at a computer very close to the info counter. I was sitting at the other end of the computer bank and could hear his entire conversation; I have no idea how the library staff member at the info counter did not hear. Another student (a female) asked him to take his call outside to which he rudely responded that he didn’t have to. These two students ended up having a yelling match about cell phone use in a library; it was not until they had been yelling at each other for 2 – 3 minutes until the library staff member walked over and asked what was going on. I was becoming concerned for the female’s safety.

    I am fortunate that I am a mature student; when I speak to students about being loud, they assume that I am a staff member and reply to me respectfully and then quiet down immediately. And, I don’t mind asking once in awhile (not more than once a week). I also believe that the library staff need to become more proactive about this. I don’t believe it is my responsibility to enforce library rules.

    Do all students know that there are rooms available for group work? Perhaps a notice about that could be put up on the white boards near the info desk with other “Library Announcements”. The reason I ask is because I often see groups working at tables in the library and the group rooms are sitting empty.

    Having said all that, I must say how much I DO appreciate the library staff. I am constantly amazed at the respect shown to students, their approachability and the lengths to which they will go to help us find what we need.

    Thanks so much for your attention to this!!!

  6. I agree with all the comments as well.. I study between the bookshelves by the windows in the back and it is extremely annoying because this is one of the few quiet areas to study in and the worst part is people still talk in that quiet little space!! I think you should move the group desks and put individual study desks there so it can remain as a quiet study area.

  7. Even with small children in the calgary public library, still, it is not as loud as our library (academic space?)

  8. Welcome to Club Royal.
    The spacious library provides our patrons with lots of room to co-mingle and catch up on many crucial issues. Issues range from: What ‘that jerk’ said on facebook the other day, how good Roadhouse and other Calgary area bars were last night, How ‘hot’ that girl over there is and many other non academic subjects.
    Our library is filled with computers that come ‘facebook-ready’ making it easy for you to stay in touch with that ‘hot’ individual you met in the library not too long ago. the processing speed is very good and allows our patrons to readily access over three thousand posted pictures on facebook.
    If facebook is not your cup of tea, do not dispair, the library provides a great atmosphere for you to meet up and talk to your friends about anything not related to school.
    If this sounds interesting to you please send your application along with two – three thousand dollars, you will have exclusive access to club royal where your social networking will be greatly enhanced. think of it not as a learning institution, but more of a daytime club, minus the open liquor…

  9. As a new student to MRC (did 2 yrs at RDC) I was less than impressed with my one and only experience at the campus library. One saturday I decided to come in to study, in what I thought would be a quiet environment, especially upon reading the rules posted on the tables. You can imagine how surprised I was when the crowds showed up an hour later, along with the noise, and rudeness.

    I agree with the above poster about Club Royal. When I visited the library, I read the rules on the table, and had no problem following them. Needless to say others apparently saw no problem in disregarding these rules completely. I will not be working in the library any longer.

  10. Hello,
    It’s interesting to read the whole bit of trying to keep up with everyone’s needs. But honestly, it takes 1 student to ruin a whole study area.

    I had one experience with talking to a staff member, where after asking about the study policies in the school, i was told that the school was hoping people would go home to study. Now personally, I have a family at home, so i come to school to study, it being an academic place and all, but the sad part is, the school has turned into a social club. there are so many places for people to meet around campus, I mean, wasn’t that why6 Wycam house had that very expensive redo. But i have to wonder, why is it quieter in the halls and in wycam house, than it is in the library?

    The real problem is, is that there is zero enforcement. None.

    I’ve studied at SAIT and have found with zero enforcement, students are fairly quiet and respectful. It seems that the culture of SAIT and Mount Royal are very different. Ones a social club, the other is an academic school.

    With so many students having a huge problem with this ( I’ve talked to MANY) Why is NOTHING being done?

  11. Social Club Culture… AGREED! the atmosphere at Mount Royal is one similar to a starbucks or a lounge of sorts.
    How does this school claim it wishes to be a university when it cannot even provide the atmosphere of a University. Even SAIT has a more academically inclined atmosphere and that is where all my buddies in the Trades go.
    I feel ripped off. I paid all this money to study in the post secondary equivalent of a lounge.
    Do as the guy with the funny accent says and save your money…

  12. Hi all,

    I actually hardly ever use the library space but in some ways the reasons differ from just the noise issue. To be honest, I actually don’t mind a small amount of noise when there are people around you discussing classes etc., in fact, I prefer it over absolute silence. So, usually I end up at coffee shops around town when I need to write a paper or study. However, I also think that it is completely unfair that the library isn’t a place of study for so many people. Yes, the library is a big, open space which really makes the noise level hard to manage. But why there is no “quiet” study area as many other schools have is beyond me.
    It was encouraging therefore, to see a staff member the other day approach several loud groups and ask them to keep it quiet. Hopefully, things will only get better from now on.

  13. El, please take all the other individuals who “prefer it (noise) over absolute silence” with you to the coffee shop, Or whatever other loud and disturbing environment you wish to attend.
    If Mount Royal (club royal as others have pointed out) wishes to become a University it should have a zero tolerance policy toward noise. The library is a place for research and studies, group work can be done (with no negative effects may I add)in the many shops in and around the school. If groups wish to accomplish some research (I don’t know how many scholarly sources are on facebook)they should either have a clear idea of what they need beforehand, or arrange to have a meeting in one of the many available spots around the school and decide what needs to researched.
    For most post secondary institutions the library is a place where students go to further develop what has been learned. The library should then be treated like so, and therefore a zero noise policy should be enforced.
    And on a different note, group work is a sham, we all know it. five people get together and one, best case scenario two, do the work while the others claim to be ill or busy. I thought the childish notion of group work was shed along with parent teacher interviews… Guess I was wrong.

  14. Hey, I remember the first year I was at MRC and the quite rule was somewhat enforced, now not so much. I remember around the exam periods I would see security walking around the library and REALLY enforcing the quite rule. Now a year later, nothing is ever done. This may be the reason for why everyone has big headphones…. just saying… Every now and then I see the security guards walk through the library but they do…..NOTHING. Yea if you’re yelling in the library they might mention something but NOTHING. I have seen people talking loudly and the security walking around just walk around and leave. Since finals are coming up I would like to see the security guard enforcing this rule. There was one time were I witnessed a lady being written up by the security guard for talking on her phone but the problem was the table beside hers were talking even louder then she is and she got written up and not the other people. I’m not sure if is there job, but I’m sure it is there job to remove people that are breaking the rules. If the security guards are uncomfortable in confronting the students then they should do it in pairs. It should not be the student’s responsibility to ask other students to hush up. What I’m pretty much saying and all the other comments are, is that ENFORCEMENT is needed. This problem is getting worse and worse everyday.

    Thanks,

    p.s This blog page should be more advertised!

  15. Hi all,

    Thanks for the continuing conversation on the noise issue in the Library. Your messages of frustration are clear and we do appreciate the time and energy to file your complaints.

    We have been working more closely with Security over the last few weeks, increasing walk throughs and hopefully proactive noise control, as well as increasing our staff presence walking through the library. From the last post it sounds like there has been some improvement which is encouraging. We will continue to keep on top of the noise and create an “exam friendly” quiet study space.

    Best,
    Carol

    Carol Shepstone
    Director, MR Library

    ps…Any advice on where we might advertise the blog? We would love to generate more interest and input.

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