Library [lahy-brer-eee] noun, plural libraries; 1. A place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set of rooms or building where books may be read and borrowed.
Silence [Sahy-luh-ns] 1. An absence of any sound or noise; stillness.
At Exeter High School, these two words used to fit together as well as puzzle pieces. Order was maintained in our library; it was a place of complete and utter peace. In a school so full of bodies and the noises they make, our library remained a small bubble of relief from the constant chatter that washes over every inch of every hallway in EHS.
Alas, the peace could not remain.
Do I blame the librarians?
They do their best to keep the sanctuary quiet and still, a place of reading and study.
However, the students outnumber them 375-1. Speaking of students, do I blame them?
There is no doubt that last year, every adolescent in the school clamored for change in our library; students (myself included) wanted to be able to eat and drink while we studied and puzzled over school work. This is most definitely a reasonable request. It is no secret that food stimulates the brain and a large majority of people can concentrate more effectively when they are chewing or have water close at hand. So our new librarians agreed to trust us with snacks. Do we abuse this new privilege?
The librarians have one rule regarding food; dry snacks only, please. Yet what do I see? Kids bringing cream filled, frosted donuts, pizza and even spaghetti past the library doors with not a glint of shame in their eyes. Just yesterday, four girls ate salads with possibly three gallons of dressing per plate at a table right next to mine. Is this acceptable?
The librarians stuck their necks out for us, and we scorn their only rule, blatantly breaking it when the cafeteria (where this food is obviously perfectly fine) is not even 20 steps away.
But food and drink is only a small part of a much bigger and more pressing issue.
Last year, there was no noise in the library. None. It was four people to a table, max, and you were kicked out in the blink of an eye if you were talking just the slightest bit too loudly. We rebelled; and, again, our librarians graciously granted our request of the freedom to converse with our friends and move chairs around, as long as we aren’t bothering anyone else.
Is this rule followed?
Don’t make me laugh.
If you’ve never been in the library during 5th period, I highly discourage it unless you wish to nurse a throbbing headache for the rest of the day.
I am a junior, and to say my workload is heavy would be generous. On top of newspaper, debate, key club, job, sports, the gym and an extreme confusion of how chemistry works, I rely on peace and quiet in the library during lunch time. Whether it’s to get away from my responsibilities and read for a half hour, catch up on my homework or puzzle over analysis questions, I need those 35 precious minutes of concentration. Unfortunately, I can no longer focus because of the unnecessarily loud voices that come from one table of ridiculously noisy senior boys (you know who you are.) Are they the only offenders? Of course not! They just happen to be the most disruptive. I’m not trying to point fingers, but the fact is, our behavior in a place meant for studying and silence is completely rude and extremely disrespectful. A large majority of students in the library don’t even realize how loud they are. They’re trying to make themselves heard over everyone else talking; the snowball effect creates a dull roar of continuous noise. Even in a “loner booth” with my headphones in and music turned to the highest level possible without frying my brain, the many voices still manage to flood into my ears. It’s infuriating.
We have utterly abused the freedoms that we were trusted with by the librarians, and it’s beginning to affect the students as well. I’m not the only one complaining. A library is supposed to be for homework, studying and reading quietly; it is not meant to be a second cafeteria. If you’re going to eat messy food and talk loudly with your friends, I don’t fault you- I absolutely encourage it. But please, I beg of you, just do it in the cafeteria, where those actions are supposed to take place. This behavior is disruptive to the students who are using the time for school work and entirely rude to the librarians who have allowed us these new privileges.
Kathy Vetter – 3/20/15