Sunday, May 27, 2018

Want to Chat in the Library? Don’t Even Think About It.



People who do not stop talking in the library should be kicked out and suspended from the library for ten days. These chin-wagging hyenas are a curse on the Raether Library and need to be dealt with immediately.

Now, most of you reading this will readily acknowledge that the Library often feels more like a football stadium than a temple of scholarship. But if you think that noise in the library is not an issue, I encourage you to take a seat in any of the reading rooms between 3pm and 6pm on a week day. Try to read a book or write an essay and see what happens. To save you the trouble, I will tell you: within twenty minutes a pack of students will start chatting away as if the reading room were their sitting room, with total disregard for their fellow students.

There you are, sitting at a desk, reading or writing away when suddenly, your trail of thought is punctuated by uninvited noise. If you are lucky, the noise was just someone forgetting to turn their phone on silent. No big deal. Back to work. But most of the time, the noise is not a phone. It is the muttering of a pack of undergraduates, usually first-years.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can understand some chatter. Indeed, I am as guilty of this as anyone. But I am not talking about the odd whisper across the table or a quick hello. I am talking about the sustained, louder-than-appropriate, vacuous nattering that so many of my fellow students too often engage in.

If there were some confusion as to the purpose of the library, then I might be forgiving. If I were working in the new Neuroscience building, for instance, and a pack of these people started chatting away I probably wouldn’t be too fussed. The building is new and its place in the ‘work-suitability hierarchy,’ so to speak, is still being ironed out subconsciously by the student body.

But this blissful ignorance does not apply to the library. Everyone knows what the library is and what it is for. And in knowing what it is for, we therefore know what it is not for – loud and sustained conversation.

Why, then, do people talk so much and so loudly in what we all agree is meant to be a quiet place? There is no other answer but selfishness. These students talk amongst themselves without a care in the world for your or my well-being. They care only about themselves. Their laptop screen might as well be a mirror.

You should be able to work in silence in the Raether Library. But these selfish people are stopping you. Their selfishness forces you to wear headphones, earphones, earplugs, or whatever else might drown out their meaningless chatter.

To those guilty of this idiotic habit: please get out of the library. Your incessant talking reflects more than just your selfishness. It also reflects your careless approach to your academic work. Now, I care for your work even less than you seem to, but I implore you to look – even if for the first time in your life – beyond the desires of you and your friends. If you succeed in doing this, I ask an even greater favour. Think to yourselves (not out loud!), “What are those around me trying to accomplish, and how can I help them?” The answer is easier than you might think: stop talking (and put your phone on silent for goodness’ sake.)

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