Shut the Hell Up!: Counterpoint

Connor Guy

Remember that “Quiet Please” sign that used to sit on a tripod in foyer of the library? If you’re a freshman, you probably don’t; it hasn’t been there all year, and that’s not only because it was stolen last year.

I see people getting shushed in the library all the time. Shushers think that because there’s a cultural expectation of silence in the library, they have a license to be as rude as they like in their shushing.

This may come as a shock to the shushers, but the library is no longer a place solely for reading and quiet studying. Especially here at Whitman, the library is increasingly becoming a place for social interaction and group work.

Talking is a huge part of the learning process, and isn’t the library supposed to be a place for learning? Talking needs to be permitted to facilitate learning.

I’m not saying that every part of the library should be open for talking; I know how important silence can be when trying to do something that requires a lot of concentration. In fact, I need absolute silence to accomplish just about anything: I’m one of those people, but I’m not a shusher.

But there is a place for me in the library where silence is maintained. It is called the Allen Reading Room, and the shushers seem unaware of it.

There is no reason not to use it; there are spacious tables, comfortable couches and a homey fireplace. Most of the time, it’s totally empty.

I can understand the argument that the reading room is not big enough to be the only place where silence reigns in the library. The solution however, should not be to make the entire library silent. Instead, we could simply make more areas silent.

Containing talkers and group-studiers in study rooms is not the answer. On an even remotely busy night, getting a study room is impossible.

I think that these shushers get so mad because they blow things out of proportion. The group of freshmen behind you fervently discussing some core text might seem like a huge distraction. It might seem that they’re being totally disrespectful, but in reality, all you need to do to avoid distraction is move a few tables away.

And the library isn’t nearly as loud and many of these shushers contend.   Sure, there are some chronically noisy places (the tables at the top of the stairs, on the third floor, for example), but much of the library is not only silent, but empty. The fourth floor is very often just as silent as the reading room.

So, seriously shushers: stop complaining. Accept that the library needs to be a place where people can talk.