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You may have noticed that furniture is being moved around in the library this semester. Last semester, we moved carrels out of the ground floor (near the Library Cafe), and moved in the couches, chairs, tables, and whiteboards that are there now . As of this semester, carrels have been moved from the second floor, on the eastern side of the atrium (in front of the glass wall, in front of the periodical stacks), and replaced by open tables and wooden chairs.
Where are the carrels being placed?
Some of them went to the western end of the library, along the curved wall of windows, overlooking the SAC. Most of them are going up to the third floor, where open tables are being replaced by carrels.
Why all the moving around? We are trying to take furniture that speaks of quiet study (carrels) and move it into spaces well-suited for quiet study (the western end of the library away from the main entrance, the third floor). We shall see if those furniture-based signals translate into actual quiet. Carrels also make it harder to do group work. By providing more space on the first, second and ground floors for groups to get work done, we provide a place for people to go when they need to be constructively noisy.
This is on my mind not just because of the furniture moving, but also because of a recent suggestion box entry which stated, “There are many things library could do to provide a good/quiet environment for students who want to study, But library really doesn’t do any.”
I just don’t think this is true. Our work is far from finished, but we are trying, with the right placement of furniture and policy, to provide both quiet spaces (the third floor, the ground floor in the compact stacks room, and all of the tower floors) as well as spaces where people can work with a steady (yet manageable) level of noise.
Part of the job of keeping the library noise levels manageable is, frankly, up to the people who use the space. Once we’ve made it clear on our end where you can do what kind of work, it’s up to you (and your classmates and colleagues) to find the place that fits. And to pay attention to the furniture cues around you, and also to what other people are doing in the space in which you find yourself.
So, working in a group? Try a table on the first floor. Or a group study room.–we’ve created several more study rooms in the last semester. Or a table on the second floor near the atrium. Or the new collaborative study space on the ground floor, near the Library Cafe.
Working by yourself, but don’t mind a dull roar around you? (maybe the noise actually helps you focus?). Anywhere in the library can be right for you.
Need a quiet place to focus? Try the Halton Room, at the back of the main floor of the library. Or anywhere on the Third Floor. Or the western end of the first and second floors (overlooking the SAC), or the second floor back in the periodicals, in the eastern part of the library. Or try the tower floors, or the desks in the compact stacks room, on the ground floor.
We are working all the time to figure out what you need to do, and to try to configure spaces in the library to facilitate that work. As new furniture arrangements (and occasionally, new furniture) appear, you can help by giving us feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
You can do that here: http://library.uncc.edu/suggest/
Or by commenting on this blog, sending me an email, or even by leaving a message at the Info Desk.
And we can see what gets used, and what doesn’t, and work further to make things into a better fit.
One final note: loud phone conversations feel out of place everywhere. But that’s a larger etiquette problem, one not easily solved by the library alone!
I agree its up to people to manage themselves – we’re all adults here. Just yesterday I was in a group study room working on a project with classmates – the person in the adjoining study room came by and politely asked us to please be a little quieter. No harm, no foul. Fixed.
Have you considered phone booths in areas where people are wont to use cellphones?
It may ameliorate the noise problem, and cell users would appreciate the privacy they afford.