love a librarian: keep toronto public library public

Tell Mayor Ford you want a free, public Toronto Public Library. Go here.


johngoldfine said...

I thought you might be interested:

This year, the library on my campus took a daring step, with my enthusiastic support. It set aside one room as...wait for it..a tech-free quiet study space. It consists of carrels, chairs, lights, and almost nothing else. Other than furniture, the only expense was a sign on the door designating the room for quiet study.

It was an experiment. What would happen if students were given the option of a space where nobody spoke, where group study was entirely verboten, and were nothing was beeping or going clickety-clack?

The students love it. The space has been both popular and self-enforcing. And that’s before we even hit midterm exams, let alone finals. It turns out that in the era of electronic this and group that, there was an untapped demand for the classic “shhh!!” library environment that you would have found a hundred years ago. Already, students busy studying have asked intruding talkers to leave. And they left.

Admittedly, the cynic in me imagined that the space might become a haven for enthusiastic young couples to, um, do what they do. Apparently it hasn’t. The library staff reports that the place is usually more than half full, and often packed, with students actually studying.

Studying! In the library!


laura k said...

Very nice! I love that libraries are no longer strictly ssshhh-eries, but this had made the designated quiet study space a must.

I don't know about the tech-free, though. That would prove useless for me, as I cannot study without typing.

The self-enforcing nature of this kind of space is lovely. It doesn't work well in Canada, though, where a furtive annoyed glance is beyond most people's tolerance for confrontation.