I remember from school that the library was the “no talking” zone. This has been drilled into me since elementary school, throughout high-school, and into university. Even today I walk into a library and feel compelled to learn sign language. School libraries have been traditionally quiet places where people can go to read or study… but should they be completely devoid of conversation?
Personally, I don’t think they should be. I understand that some people need to study “quietly”. Really I do. But those students are the ones that are silent because they have Modest Mouse blaring into their ears. True, they aren’t making any noise. But I would rather a group of students discussing their work and the benefits of having an SUV over a minivan than listening to music. At least if they’re talking about cars, they’re learning something.
Our policy here at the school is that the library is a serious place meant for silent, individual study. But that is less often the case. Students get assigned group work in classes, which is then transferred to the library when they come in to work on it in an environment where they can easily access all the needed resources. Group work means that they need to have discussion. If we enforce “quiet study” then I think that we restrict their learning.
Basically, I’m just ranting. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor (not get rid of) talkative students in the library. Sometimes it may get a bit louder than what people expect of the library, but hopefully we can learn to adjust the image of an outdated library image to properly reflect the learning styles of our students.