Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's okay to have a lizard in there, but don't raise your voice (Question of the Day, 70)

Why are we still being quiet in libraries?

I took Mr F and Mr Bunches to the library last week -- we go about once a week to hang out and read the cool pop-up books they have there -- and I was trying to shush Mr F as we walked in.

There weren't that many people there, and it was a Thursday night, early on. Our library has two levels. The upper level has many of the books plus a few chairs for reading, plus a kids' area and a special area for teens where they have a giant lizard in an aquarium

-- and I'm missing something, because I'm not sure how that appeals to teens --

And as I walked through there were other noises going on: The checkout thing was whirring and some carts were being pushed and it wasn't quiet, really.

The lower level has study cubicles and magazines and textbooks and things; nobody ever goes down there.

So I shushed Mr F and kept the Babies! as quiet as they can be, but the whole time I was wondering: why are we still being quiet in libraries?

Is it because people study? But people study in dorm rooms and coffee shops and on Bascom Hill at the campus and on buses, and we don't feel the need to be quiet.

Is it because there are books? Why do books = need for silence? People aren't quiet in bookstores, after all.

It's not like I'm demanding to be loud. But I do think it should be possible to have a conversation, in a normal tone of voice, in the library.

I don't even know how the quiet rule got started. All my life, people have had to be quiet in libraries.

Libraries and church: the two places people get together in public where talking in a normal voice isn't allowed.

No comments: