Silent library prohibits learning

Kelly Foulk, News Editor

Libraries are meant to be quiet, but are they meant to be silent? There is a big difference between the words quiet and silent, a difference that caused myself and other students to be kicked out of the library the week prior to exams.

The week before exams, the library became a place of complete silence. The doors were shut and even vague whispers were frowned upon. I know a student who walked into the library and happily greeted Mrs. Welsh, only to be frowned at and angrily shushed.

Other students complained that they were kicked out after trying to study with their friends. In a completely silent library students aren’t able to ask their friends questions, practice with flashcards, receive tutoring or work on group projects.

My friends and I came to the library with flashcards and books in hand in order to help one another prepare for exams, but we were told to be quiet or leave. Our voices were scarcely above that of a whisper, but it was still too loud.

The purpose of a library is to provide an environment where students can learn and get work done without being disturbed. The library cannot achieve this goal if it is completely silent. Students use the library for tutoring, group work and group study purposes, all of which require a minimal level of talking to be allowed.

One might reason that these can all be accomplished elsewhere at JC, but my question is where? There is no place where people can study and do group-work without being distracted. The cafeteria is frequently packed during common off-mods, especially with the new schedule. This makes it hard not only to concentrate but also to find a seat. Besides, in the cafeteria it is easy to become distracted and wind up wasting away your mod by talking to friends and buying food.

There are other alternatives to the cafeteria, but these are haphazard and undependable. Students are sometimes able to do work in the art wing, music wing, or guidance counselor offices, but these places are frequently unavailable or noisy due to classes or meetings. The library must remain a reliable location for students to study and do group work.

Designated areas for group work and silent studying are available, with single desks and large tables populating different sides of the library. The students who desire silence should be as far removed from those who need to talk as possible.

I am not proposing that we allow talking of all levels to occur- that’s what the cafeteria is for. If talking is kept to a reasonable level then both the students who desire silence and those who need to talk are content.

Kelly Foulk is a News Editor for The Patriot and