Recapturing the true library experience

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I have had a few complaints about the library being too loud. And, it really was not difficult to agree. Therefore, we (that means the staff and the users) are going to recapture the essence of what a library should be: a place to find reference material, a book to read, newspapers, magazines, public-use computers with the Internet and a quiet study/reading environment. Many libraries are much louder than in the past, including Marshall County Memorial Library; however, it should not be compared to the noise level of a playground or a ball game.


Children screaming, running around, throwing books, banging on the computers or climbing on the shelves has got to stop! The children brought in MUST be controlled.

Parents, you have to remember that it is not the staff's responsibility to baby-sit or entertain your child. Many times we get the crayons and coloring sheets out and that may work for a while.

If your child acts out maybe you've been here too long and he/she is bored, hungry, tired, etc. Again, you can't ask others to deal with the continued crying. We'll ask you to quiet your child and give you some time to try to do that, but if it continues you will be asked to remove the child from the library.

I know some may say that it sounds like we don't want children in here, that's the farthest thing from the truth! We love seeing the children, enjoy their excitement about being able to come to the library. They do, though, need to be taught to treat the library, its contents and other users in a respectful manner.

We also don't want them running or climbing on our stools, ladders, chairs, shelving units because they can easily fall and be seriously injured.

The fact is that we have people in our community who are less than reputable and may even be a sexual predator. The library is a public place and can be used by them, too. That being said, one of the reasons why we tell you to watch your children is because the staff cannot and we do not want harm to come to them.

As the Director, I am observing situations and have had to tell some they are no longer welcome at the library. And, have gone so far as to request the law enforcement remove some patrons because of their actions and the threat they pose. So we are looking our for your child's safety as well as the adults.


Adults (including myself and the staff) are way too loud in conversation.

Patrons with cell phones ringing at the highest volume possible are a huge distraction to everyone.

We have some young students who are currently being tutored and they have complained the library is way too loud for them to concentrate.

We also need to be aware that this is NOT the place for sleeping. We have had patrons complain that the person sitting next to them in the computer room is snoring and it's annoying everyone in the room.

We have people who use are parking lot as a trash can -- those who are doing that, please we do have trash cans near the employee entrance that you can use. You don't need to just toss it out.

Marshall County Memorial Library will become the place where a quieter atmosphere will be the norm, not the unusual. Let's just say that if I can hear your conversation at the circulation desk or in the stacks and I'm in my office with the door almost closed then you're being too loud.

We will try to speak in a subdued voice (I am not telling you to whisper).

Cell phones are either turned off or set on vibrate. You will not answer the phone in the library, but in the designated entry area or go outside.

Many times the staff is on the phone - that is totally different because we are conducting library business. And, many times I will use my own cell phone when I am working with the State Technical person in trying to resolve a computer problem; but there again, it's library business.

We want the library to continue to grow in usage and that it continue to be a vital part of the community. The library staff works hard and we want all of the community to be proud of what we have here.

We do get compliments from people who come here from cities that have large libraries.

Those compliments tend to be about our service, our collection, the number of computers we have, etc. There are also compliments regarding the landscaping (thanks to CosmoLab and locals who provided plants and pull weeds, etc.). We want that to continue!

I certainly don't want it to sound like the majority of people are causing problems because that's not the truth -- but as the saying goes "the squeaky wheel gets the oil."