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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Quiet in the Library

The Only quiet place left in the library
Ian Beauford Hughban
The Only quiet place left in the library


Is the Healey Library supposed to be a quiet place to study at UMB?

This may seem to be a strange question to ask given the cardinal rule at all libraries: quiet

please. Quiet is important to allow concentration on reading and studying.

But quiet study at the Healey Library doesn’t seem to mean all that much to some of the

patrons or the library staff.

Some might question this sweeping statement, but the experiences of many UMB

students tell another story. Depending on the time of day there are very few quite spaces

for learning on campus, and even fewer in the Healey Library itself.

This is especially evident on the 8th floor of the Healey Library. Many students study on

that floor and not all of them are quiet. If you hang out in the stacks on a typical weekday

for five minutes you’re bound to hear some giggling and a piercing cry or two before you


What’s disturbing is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a response from the library

staff to the mayhem that can erupt on the upper floors of the library for minutes at a time,

then die down and disappear.

Staff members are supposed to be the guardians of decorum in the Healey Library.

Occasionally you’ll see a staffer up on the 8th or 9th floor putting books back, but it’s

unusual see that person be assertive and tell rowdy students to quiet down or get out of

the library. Group study areas are import, but there’s a system for renting study rooms.

That system should be enforced, and when a group wants to meet and talk above a

whisper they should be asked to reserve a room or to find an empty classroom where

they can study without bothering other students who are working on essays and under


The implicit rule for quietness is rarely if ever enforced above the 4th floor of the library,

and there’s almost never staff presence during times when the noise levels on the upper

floors of the library reach a fever pitch, 10am-4pm.

If the Healey Library cannot be counted upon to enforce a uniform order of quietness

throughout all levels of the building, can it be considered a useful resource? Libraries are

valuable because they are quiet.

We can all act aloud, joke with friends, and get online without regard to our noise level at

home or in the cafeterias on campus. We go to our library for the quiet.

Students, faculty, and visitors alike have a reasonable expectation when it comes to the

Healey Library: it’s supposed to be a quiet place to do constructive work without the

presence of uncontrolled noise.

While we realize that there are limited resources. We’re at a public school. There is

no excuse for the coquettish atmosphere on the upper levels of the library, which are

designated for studying. We think it’s reasonable to ask to the library staff as a whole to

be more strict about enforcing quiet in the library.