“Jaw With John” – Notice I No Longer Say Liberry Or Tomorrie

When I was in school, libraries were places where people went to read and study in a quiet environment. Librarians quickly squelched noisemakers with a “shush” and stern gaze.

I have recently begun frequenting local city and university libraries, as I am researching various issues related to starting a company. However, the noise level at these libraries, without exception, makes it virtually impossible for me to concentrate.

I’m sitting at a local branch of a city library. Children are running around talking loudly, and their parents respond in kind.

Staff members speak at a normal volume, making no effort to set an example for patrons. Other patrons answer cellphones at a normal volume. Not 10 feet from me, two people are talking loudly while using a public computer.

I recently went to a multistory library at a local university. Two floors were designated “Quiet Zones.” The entire library should be a quiet zone!

Whenever I ask people to please be quiet, they react like I am crazy to expect quiet in a library.

Am I crazy? — Frazzled

Dear Frazzled:

You’re crazy.

As recently as 10 years ago, when I entered college, libraries were changing. WiFi was growing exponentially, books were being replaced by digital copies, and the places that housed those books were replaced by computers. You can’t go to a library these days without there being a cafe or coffee shop built right into it. It’s evolving with the times, unlike you.

Your old school library is dead and if it’s not dead then it’s dying. They’ve become common areas where people can come and share ideas, talk and possibly learn something new. You can either accept it and go to those designated quiet areas or stay home where no one will bother you. But honestly, who hangs out at the public library?

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