I recently went to a public library to do some research for my college work. Being abookaholic (Is that even a word?) I’ve gone to quite a few libraries in my lifespan so it wasnt like I was new to the idea.
However it was the first time I was visiting this heritage library, which i heard was pretty historic.. Circa 1845 or I had heard and I was pretty excited to go visit it. It was basically like a 6 year old going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (Of course without that tragic ending).
I imagined it to be old and grand with perhaps some excitement and lively discussion going on:
Well what I certainly din’t expect was this:
* insert cricket sound here*
Yes I’m not kidding. The only difference was that it really wasn’t black and white. Although mood of the place certainly seemed that way.
All the books were not in their right places and there were cobwebs literally on every shelf. Every dang shelf. I repeat… every dang shelf!
Hold on, this wasn’t even the worst part. No, the thing that drove me mad was the fact that there was pin-drop silence everywhere! The only sounds that were heard were that of the air conditioning.
No, there was no black-heavy-glasses sour-faced librarian with a heavy wooden ruler prancing around. There was the word ‘silence’ written everywhere and people seemed to blindly follow it.
When will people realize that libraries are not places for solitary confinement but for learning, interaction and information sharing? I perfectly understand that certain rules are needed for the fools who don’t respect a library for what it is.
But enforcing ‘silence’ is really going a bridge too far with it. I’m not asking for jarring music or unruly shouting. All I’m asking is for the library to remain the peaceful sanctuary it is. Maybe certain spaces can be provided for those who have the irrational need for silence but perhaps it is time to evolve from the notion of silence is golden? After all the world of the library has certainly evolved and should be a hub of intellectual conversation.
A from TAD