Sept. 22, 2014
Non-quiet zones in a library? Huh?
This semester, the Kraemer Family Library opened a new student collaborative learning center where a sign invites students to have study groups, work together on class projects and even socialize.
Teri Switzer, dean of the library, indicated the remodeling was inspired by last year’s survey produced in collaboration with a marketing class.
“We plan to do a follow up survey later this academic year,” Switzer said in an email, “With the hope that we can stay on top of what our campus needs from their library.”
She also indicated that the library is continuing to experience increased use.
“Contrary to many libraries, traffic into the library as well as the number of materials either physically or electronically checked out and used has increased,” Switzer said. “From July 2013-June 2014, we had 763,000 people come into the library.”
There was an increase of 25,000 visits from the year before.
Students like sophomore pre-health major Shaelynn Willford enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of the nonquiet zone because she can socialize and talk freely without the hindrance of bookshelves and being shushed.
An organic chemistry student, Willford visits the library before going to the science center.
“Because I like to try everything by myself first, and then if I don’t understand it, then I go get help,” she said.
Senior communication major with a digital film emphasis Samantha Wasmuth would rather have the open space than bookshelves that nobody utilizes, and thinks the non-quiet zone provides a contrast.
“So I think it’s a good balance, because you have the quiet areas and then you have the study rooms, so I mean if you want to chit-chat or talk with someone, you can always do the study room”
Wasmuth only uses the non-quiet zone, the computer area and the study rooms, and believes the spaces provide increased focus.
“Last semester I did a lot of public relations and business classes, and so I normally study that. But lately I’ve been doing a lot of English and composition.”
Additionally, the library relocated the children’s literature section to the non-quiet zone, and added a kid-sized blue table in tandem with a regular table and chairs. Switzer explained this was in order to increase access for users from the Family Development Center and children of faculty.
“The children’s and young adult books have been purchased to be used, and I don’t know about all people, but as a mother and grandmother, I know firsthand that young children, can be excited when picking out books to look and have read to them.”
“Storing these in a quiet zone simply did not work.” The parent-child study room, intended for parents to complete classwork in a play space for their child, remains on the third floor. It has educational toys, a TV and a DVD player.
Switzer indicated that the quiet zone on the third floor was added in the last three or four semesters, while the non-quiet zone was new for fall 2014.
William Thornton, sophomore in pre-engineering, mainly studies on the third floor. Thornton was studying Calculus I in the quiet zone. He only uses the non-quiet zone when he needs to use a computer.
“It helps to not have distractions when you’re having to think through this stuff,” he said.
Francisco Benitez, electrical engineering major who transferred from Pikes Peak Community College, works on senior level classes like Circuits and ENGR 4910: Power Systems 2.
“Downstairs is too noisy, but that’s to be expected because of all the traffic that is constantly going through there. That’s why I prefer coming up here to the second level,” Benitez said. “I preferably even get a study room so that I can be noisy in there if I want to without bothering anybody else.”
The library apse on the third floor attracts students like Aeones Deveyra, senior, mechanical engineering.
“I usually come up here just because there’s some computers close by to here,” Deveyra explained. “I always feel like it’s better to study in a quiet area. I like the view.”
Deveyra uses the non-quiet zone for group meetings.
“I like it, it’s roomier. Sometimes when I’m not studying, and I’m just reading, I like the ambiance of hearing other people talking in the background,” he said.
A new printer has also been placed on the third floor to assist the new computers installed there.