With the hustle and bustle that comes from the East Campus Library’s role as the information hub of the campus community, there is a surprising new sound settling in one of the work areas – the sound of silence. In a library that sees monthly door counts in excess of 40,000 students and with public spaces that enable groups to work collaboratively, the East Campus Library is frequently alive with activity.
At the request of students (via surveys and in-person discussions) and through research done by our own librarians, it was found that even the most social and connected students still value a quiet area away from noise and distractions, and that they expect the library to offer that environment.
Answering this request, Dennis Weeks, director of the learning resource center, and Leonard Bass, dean of learning support for the East and Winter Park Campuses, identified an area to designate as a “Quiet Zone.” Library staff shifted shelving to act as a sound barrier and to signify a clear boundary between the Quiet Zone area and the general library. The shifting and aligning of the space took place the week after spring semester final exams to avoid any disruption of service for students and faculty using the library.
This special area of the library now includes prominent signage and a clear boundary that allows students to study in a reduced noise environment. The signage was inspired by the television show “The Twilight Zone” and was the brainchild of Diane Dalrymple, librarian, who created the graphic that is now used on multiple poster boards and smaller signs at study carrels in the Quiet Zone.
The experiment, while not a perfect solution, seems to be a popular thus far. The number of students utilizing this area continues to grow. In fact, during the first two weeks of the summer semester, the number of students in the Quiet Zone has repeatedly rivaled the number of students in other areas of the library.
For questions about the Quiet Zone, please contact Dennis Weeks, director of the learning resource center, at email@example.com (extension 2468), or Leonard Bass, dean of learning support for the East and Winter Park Campuses, at firstname.lastname@example.org (extension 2745).