Students should respect library’s silent request

The W. Frank Steely Library has always been my favorite place to study. The walls seem to hold magical powers that help information flow into my brain and beautiful writing flow from my fingertips. The only trick is, the magic can only work with a certain degree of silence and the observance of library etiquette by other patrons.

It seems that lately the magic has faded. The most magical study places have become riddled with cell phone conversations and inappropriate computer usage.

When I went to create a research paper masterpiece for a class last semester, I found each “Research Database Only” computer displaying MySpace or Microsoft Word. I was perplexed. I thought maybe I had come to the wrong place. When I finally had the chance to use the research database on the research computer, I overheard a conversation about looking up porn. I confronted the gentlemen discussing adult entertainment with four words: “Research Paper! Finals Week!” It may have been the twitch in my neck caused by anger, but they looked at me as if I had come to the wrong place. Although I wrote an e-mail to the library about this incident, I received no response.

When researching Steely Library’s rules and regulations, I came across just one on its Web site, and it only pertains to children. Still, there are signs posted on nearly every wall that prohibit cell phone use. But I nevertheless hear conversations and obnoxious ring tones.

I realize that in order to get my magic study place back, I have to remind others of library etiquette, just as the librarians in elementary schools did years ago.

Silence is golden! If group work is needed, the library actually has a designated room. The room schedule and the key are located at the circulation desk, according to the Web site.

The best way to speak in a library is the “two-foot voice.” In the library, if I can hear your conversation from more than two feet away, it is too loud.

Need to type a paper? The location of computers as described online: “Currently, there are two PCs for word-processing in the reference area (3rd floor), 10 PCs on the 4th floor, and fifteen PCs in the Steely Loggia area. There are also several computer labs in various buildings on campus.” Please note – this does not include the “Research Database Only” computers.

Can I access e-mail and the Internet in the library? Again, this is also described: “Yes, we have a number of PCs in the Reference area, 10 on the 4th floor, and several computers on other floors of the library, with access to the Internet using Netscape and to the WEBMAIL system for e-mail. Also, in the library loggia there are 15 PCs, which can be used with access to the Internet, NKU e-mail, and NKUIRE. (Note: All print jobs from these Loggia PCs are printed to the printer in the reference area of the 3rd floor of Steely.)” This still does not include the “research database only” computers.

I know that it is not the job of library staff to act as disciplinarian to those that disregard etiquette. But it is important for student library staff, while working, to set an example, including not making personal calls in front of other students.

Please help in my quest to bring back the magic to my study place by remembering that the library is a place for researching, studying and reading. Possibly napping too. Each of these tasks require a little respect and a little silence.

Teasha Fowler The Northerner Reporter