Librarians in Trouble

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Archive for July 2009

No food, No drinks and Be quiet!! basic rules in a library??

with one comment

Hi everyone!

I have been many time lost, but today I would like to comment a post in “Tame the Web” about rules in the libraries.

I reccomend you read at first the post and the comments of different people about that.

Students in a group room at the Learning Centre in the Oslo University Collegue

Students in a group room at the Learning Centre in the Oslo University Collegue

The three basic rules are the following:

1. NO FOOD allowed in the library.

2. NO DRINKS in computer stations, the circulation desk, the meeting and study rooms.

3. BE QUIET the library is a quiet study space.

At the first moment the three basic rules could seem to me properly in a library. But in a second reading… something seems to me strange. The following comment is from my point of view as a librarian, a researcher about the user´s behaviour and of course, the main important reason, as a student.

The rules are prohibitions!!! also it remarks the “old librarian point of view about what is a library”.

As other people have commented in the original post, there are too much NO.

And I´m wondering… I can understand that none would like to use this library.

I think that a helpful, useful and good library is not like this because you´re not allowing the users to spent their time there.

Why? because if you cannot drink, in the study and meeting rooms for example, you cannot be there many time!! or if you´re studying, it is normal eat or drink, and is the same if we talk about work in groups.

Something is wrong: first the student receives a negative message from his/her library about his/her behaviour. Secondly the prohibitions about drinks and eat seem to him/her that is not possible spent many time in the library. And finally, the idea about a quiet space seems that the library is not a place to meet or share with other users, friends, students…

In a library with enough resources is possible to have study rooms, or meeting rooms, so every space could have different purposes and different behaviour.

As we had recognized in our study about the student´s behaviour in a Learning Centre (LC) of the Oslo Univeristy Collegue, see here, the students like to be working in groups, so is necessary talk to do it, and they also feel comfortable if they could eat and drink normally. Another surprising fact for us as a foreigner students in Norway, from Spain and Hungary, is that the LC had been very used during our research, more than our university libraries in our countries. We saw that students like BE in the LC, with a high social behaviour that include eat, drink and talk at the same time that they work in group or study, in group also!!! Students do it normally, and the rules of the LC allows them. So I think it is the success. Please take a look in our study, specially the description of the different zones and pictures and the F zone, group rooms, where you can find a group of students working, eating and drinking!!

Of course it doesn´t means that they have to be like pigs!!! a normal person could eat or drink studying without any catastrophic consequence. So, really if we want get students, users, in our libraries I think that we need open our minds and take into account that a library must be a LIFE SPACE, and in a life space you can eat, drink or talk. And, if is necessary for the users, provide study rooms, or spaces, to be the quiet zones. A library, or Learning Centre, could have many different areas for different needs, and every space could have different behaviours and of course, different rules accordingly to the purpuse and needs.

Written by claesju

July 24, 2009 at 8:26 pm