Is silence golden?

I’ve been thinking about this recent Salon article enticingly entitled “Bring Back Shushing Librarians.” Author Laura Miller extolls the virtues of silence and its ability to jumpstart creativity. A quiet space to simply study and contemplate can do wonders for the soul; however, walk into any library today, including your RML, and you’ll encounter lively, vibrant environs. This exemplifies the constructivist approach to education which emphasizes collaboration and peer learning. You know, the movement responsible for the dreaded group project.

I’m a big fan of peace and quiet and follow the belief that introversion is under-rated; however, I also see the value of friendly chats and person-to-person communication in these hallowed library halls.

So are libraries too loud today? Too eager to emulate their bookstore and coffee shop competitors? Some would argue libraries are much more welcoming having left behind that pursed lip, white glove, hear-a-pin-drop quiet. Your RML reserves a large table near the back of our library for quiet study, but welcomes the friendly banter of students coming and going towards the front of the library. We are social beings, after all.

Late Breaking News:
Case’s 2013 Common Reading Choice is Quiet, the Power of Introverts written by Susan Cain whose talk appears in the video above. Talk about a timely blog post!


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