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The campus library has always been a place where students can get away from the distractions of their dorm rooms and busy lives to concentrate on their coursework and studies. The desire to get away from distractions can be found at institutions large and small, tech-heavy and humanitiesfocused (Howard). Steen Library here at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) is no different. Steen Library is divided into different study areas with varying sound levels. The 4th floor has been designated the “quiet zone,” talking and distracting noises are not allowed. Students reported that they look to the library "as a place to go to escape the social distraction of their lives" (Howard). Students like myself study best in quiet areas and the only quiet environment available to us is the 4th floor of Steen Library; however the “quiet zone” of the 4th floor has become noisy and distracting. For this report, I would like to address the need for stricter enforcement of the no talking and quiet rules for the use of the 4th floor of Steen Library. There is a need for this report because of the large number of students ignoring the quiet rules of the 4th floor and the many students who are unable to study because of the loud distractions created by their fellow students. This report will outline four solutions to help reduce the noise on the 4th floor along with providing Shirley Dickerson, Library Director; David Justice, Associate Director for Library Technology; Debbie Allen, Library Business Manager the information they need to make a well informed decision.
Overview of Alternatives:
The four solutions for reducing the noise levels of the 4th floor are a dedicated floor monitor, a page on the library’s website dedicated to the reporting of loud offenders, added signage, and the removal of large group tables and the addition of single person study cubicles, carrels. All of these solutions can be used in conjunction with one another or can also work separately to discourage students from creating loud distracting sounds created by talking or other methods. The first two solutions deal more with catching offenders breaking the noise rules and reporting them, while the third solution aims to increase the awareness of the noise rules and the fourth deals with removing large tables that allow groups of students to form and join in loud and distracting conversations. The noise level has steadily grown because of the lack of enforcement of the noise rules of the floor. If the rules are enforced students will realize that the rules are real and must be respected. There are a few signs stating that the 4th floor is the quiet zone but that is all that distinguishes that the 4th floor is a quiet area where no loud distractions are allowed. I believe that most students aren’t fully aware that the 4th floor is distinguished as a quiet area and added signage around the library and all over the 4th floor will help with this issue. One of the biggest causes of distracting noise levels is the gathering of groups of students whose conversations get out of hand and distract their fellow students. With the removal of larger tables that are able to accommodate groups of students, a smaller amount of groups will form therefore
I have found that there is a high want by students of a quiet area to study and that a quiet study area is beneficial to students (Howard). All of these solutions call for added infrastructure for the 4th floor quiet zone and they well be evaluated based on the amount of infrastructure they demand. which could be used by students to anonymously report noise violators. Another key question that these solutions will be evaluated with is whether or not new personnel will be needed.lowering the number of disruptive groups. I have also polled students on their opinions of the loudness of the 4th floor and found a source which provides student opinions on the distractions other students cause by their loudness in quiet study areas. I quickly found studies done regarding academic library study areas and the popularity of quiet study areas by students (Applegate). which again may add cost. web. Where these large tables once were. and computer science departments that are more then capable of designing and implementing such a program. While looking through the furniture of the 4th floor I realized that most of the furniture is very old and falling apart and in need of replacement anyways. Criteria: With the tight financial budgets educational institutions are confined to. This would allow this solution to be done with very little cost by keeping the work within the university instead of hiring third party companies. During my search I realized that many universities including SFA have very competent IT. Method: In order to properly prove that there is a problem and I have the solutions to solve that problem I have a variety of research sources. Evaluation of solutions: 2 . small tables and single student study carrels may be added which encourage quiet solitude to work and furthermore shift the culture of the floor to a place of quietness. I have found studies that have been done on student study environments to prove that a quiet study environment is beneficial to student academic success. I also completed some Internet research on the cost of new single student study cubicles and smaller tables that would not allow large groups of students to congregate and cause noise. costs of any project is always a key question when evaluating a proposed project. I also did some Internet research on the cost of designing and implementing a web-based program. I also found that quiet study areas were the most heavily used areas of many university libraries (Applegate). which must be invested in the most. First I began searching through academic journals to find studies on study environments and student learning. The solutions will also be evaluated based on added benefits other than their primary noise reduction focus. one being done by Jennifer Howard. All of the solutions will be evaluated based on their costs versus their benefits in order to keep the direct costs of the University and Library to a minimum. This makes library quiet areas the areas.
put in place.Signage: The best way to inform students on campus is signage. besides the signs themselves. I believe that most students aren’t fully aware that the 4th floor is distinguished. When you walk across campus you will see a plethora of signs peppering the sidewalks informing students of events and other campus information. It may be very hard. or refer 3 . An example of library monitor having extra duties is given by the Westchester County New York: Under supervision. Another advantage of the solution is the lack of support infrastructure. Students who are being distracted by other loud students many times want to go up and ask their fellow student to keep it down but do not do so in order to avoid confrontation. If students were able to let a floor monitor know of the complaint then the monitor could approach the loud students and let them know they must keep it down. Floor Monitor: One of the best ways to keep student noise down on the 4th floor is policing student behavior using a library floor monitor. The floor monitor would have a desk facing the main elevators. This solution is one of the cheaper solutions because the only cost to the library would be the price of producing the signs themselves. Since the cost will be so low it will not be very difficult to source money from the library’s budget. One disadvantage of this option is that someone must be hired and paid to fill this position or a volunteer must be found making this solution rather costly. No new employees must be hired or infrastructure. which would let students know immediately that the noise level of the floor is being monitored. as a quiet area and added signage around the library and all over the 4th floor will help with this issue. an employee of this class performs responsible work in overseeing the behavior of youths and young adults in a public library. To help reduce this cost the floor monitor may be given extra responsibilities other than strictly monitoring the noise level. assist with academic work. Also students can keep their anonymity this way. maybe even impossible to find a volunteer for this position for all hours that the library is open. The incumbent may provide basic library information. This hiring of an extra employee solely for the purpose of monitoring the 4th floor may be a cost to high for the library to pay. Signs could be placed on elevators and even the button for the 4th floor in the elevator could even be labeled as the quiet zone. Several librarians mentioned signage as an essential ingredient in keeping quiet zones quiet (Howard). meaning that most likely someone must be hired. Work requires the incumbent to be able to maintain discipline in a courteous but firm manner and to interact with youths and young adults to ensure their behavior is appropriate in a public library setting. If all students were made aware of the rules of the 4th floor the sound issues would drop dramatically. In addition to being there for students to report noise violators the floor monitor will walk around the floor periodically making sure that all students are following the rules. There are a few signs stating that the 4th floor is the quiet zone but that is all that distinguishes that the 4th floor is a quiet area. like signage around campus. The cost of designing and printing the signs can be kept low by employing on-campus design classes and the campus print shop.
and computer science departments that are more then capable of designing and implementing such a program. This reason for buying new furniture is an added justification for the cost of the new furniture and an added benefit to this solution. If these tables were removed there wouldn’t be as many areas where groups of students could congregate and join in distracting conversations. which can accommodate 6-12 people. are a major reason for the increased noise levels of the 4th floor. Supervision is not a responsibility of this position. it alone. (Westchestergov. During my search I realized that many universities including SFA have very competent IT.com). This would allow this solution to be done with very little cost by keeping the work within the university instead of hiring third party companies. Even with the smaller tables. In order to implement this solution a web infrastructure must be built along with training the library staff on watching for the complaints and responding to them. Single student study carrels range in price from $150-$800 while smaller tables range in price from $100-$800 not including chairs. which can accommodate 1-4 people. web. Therefore students need an avenue to report noisy offenders without having to confront them. A page on the library’s website could be setup that would allow a student to file a complaint of a noisy student. Smaller tables. The furniture of the 4th floor is outdated and falling apart and needs replacement anyways. I completed some Internet research on the cost of designing and implementing a web-based program. This solution would work well with the already outlined floor monitor solution. which must be justified. Single student study cubicles and carrels may also be added which will encourage quiet solitude for students when studying. These extra duties may make it easier to justify the expenditure of funds for such a position. While the reduction of noise levels by buying this new furniture is a good justification for the expenditure of funds. students may join tables together to continue to form large groups but to most students this will be too much work and they will just simply move to another floor with large group tables. which range in price from $50-$300 (Shooloutfitters.individuals to professional staff for assistance. is not a good enough justification. Removal of large group tables: The gatherings of students at large tables. From that point someone from the circulation desk or a floor monitor would then address the situation allowing the student who filed the complaint to stay anonymous. 4 . Most students who are distracted by their fellow students will not confront them because they feel like the other students will not listen to them our it may cause an awkward situation.com) This definition of the duties of a library monitor gives the monitor extra duties such as providing information and assisting with academic work. which would come up on a computer at the circulation desk or a floor monitors desk. can be added in place of the larger tables. Library webpage: Another solution to the noise issue is policing of student behavior by the students themselves. The purchasing of this new furniture for the 4th floor will cost a significant amount of money.
The new furniture solution will also replace much of the outdated falling apart furniture. quickest. If the noise level does not decrease a floor monitor in conjunction with the library web page should be implemented. Recommendations: I recommend that the signage solution be implemented first because it is the cheapest. 5 . students who study on the 4th floor should be polled to see if a noticeable reduction of the noise levels has occurred and if so is it low enough that it no longer poses a large distraction. The complaints reported to the webpage could be read and acted upon by the floor monitor. After several weeks of the signs being in place. large groups but may be a very expensive solution. All of these solutions provide viable resolutions to the noise problems of the 4th floor. The signage solution provides a relatively cheap solution that will get the word out so that students are fully aware of the noise regulations of the 4th floor. which will benefit the library besides reducing the noise level. These two solutions will work very well together and will most likely totally eliminate the noise issue. The floor monitor and webpage solutions would work very well in conjunction. then new study carrels and small 2-4 person tables should be purchased and placed throughout the floor as outlined. The new furniture solution should be done only if all of the other solutions have failed because it is the most expensive one. The webpage solution is another inexpensive solution however it requires current staff to follow through in responding to complaints.Conclusions: Overall the solutions provide unique approaches to the noise problem. Removing the group tables and adding in study carrels and small tables will eliminate the largest creator of noisy distractions. If the students feel that the noise level is low and no longer distracting the other solutions are no longer needed. However when it is determined that the current library furniture must be updated. The floor monitor solution is also an expensive solution however the floor monitor will also have many duties. and easiest to implement. which may be used independently or cooperatively.
westchestergov. Quiet Makes A Comeback.com/catalog/default/cPath/CAT6>. Academic Search Complete. <https://www. 2012. "The Library Is For Studying: Student Preferences For Study Space. 18 Oct. Rachel. 5 Oct..41 (2012): A3-A4. Academic Search Complete. Web.. Jeniffer. Web." Journal Of Academic Librarianship 35.Works Cited Applegate. n.schooloutfitters.d. Web.p df>. "Library Monitor. Howard. 2012." Westchestergov. 6 .4 (2009): 341-346. 12 Oct. SchoolOutfitters. 18 Oct.d. Web. <http://www. "At Libraries. n. 2012.p. N. 2012.p. N." Chronicle Of Higher Education 58.com/personnel/jobspecs/ljs/local/L/LIBRARYMONITOR.