Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Loud Librarians

Is this a trend where you live? I'm at the Asheville-Buncombe library downtown, working on my editing job, and a librarian at the main desk is yapping away, very loudly I might add, on the telephone. She's talking library stuff--it's clearly a work-related call--but her voice is carrying clear across the library. Another librarian is talking to a patron nearby, and Librarian #2 is talking even louder, possibly because the first librarian's voice is so loud.

I am a longtime library-goer. Noisy children are occasionally a problem, sometimes a big problem--particularly when their parents won't tell them to be quiet. Recently, loud adults have become more of a problem. They just talk like they're outside on a city street. I want to give them my best evil-librarian glare, put my finger to my lips, and hiss, "Shhhh!"

But I wonder, would the loud librarian resent me if I did that to her?

2 comments:

  1. I work in a public library and I find it extremely frustrating that library staff, up to and including some department heads, insist on unnecessarily loud talking (and often unnecessary talking, at that). I have a new co-worker who is young, enthusiastic, and prone to burst into very loud laughter over and over again.

    Some of my colleagues, including people I basically like, don't seem to recognize that the convention of being quiet in a library is not arbitrary but is in place for a good reason.

    One of the main reasons I'm hoping to leave reference library work in the near future is that I am fed up with both patrons and staff who don't seem to understand what a library is. And it doesn't help when library administration wants to turn the library into an all-purpose recreation center.

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  2. It's curious that in a time when people can be very sophisticated about the relativism of values, nonetheles, there is an increasing tendency not to behave differently in different situations. The drift toward informality (which I'm mostly quite comfortable with) verges on being held sacred to such an extent that having specific rules for specific settings is considered impossibly old-fashioned.

    "The world is my livingroom" or "the world is my office" is the new motto.

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