Standpoint

To Be or Not To Be: Quiet in the Silent Section?

Once again St Feudrews has dished up a juicy debate: do we have a right to be annoyed by minor noises in the silent section of the library?

On the one hand, it’s called the SILENT section for a reason. You’ve got to be quiet. There’s certainly a big difference between getting there early in the morning to when the hordes come in around midday. I can’t work in the library these days after lunch because it’s so busy – seriously, where did all of these people come from? If you’re first years, go home or go to the pub. It’s first year, enjoy the freedom while it lasts.

Naturally, as more people come in, the floor gets louder and louder with background noise. A few people typing or settling down, moving their stuff around or getting up. That’s fine, as long as it stays in the background, but sometimes it doesn’t.

Photo: Metro

As our anonymous poster pointed out, people can get a little overzealous with typing on their laptops. Case in point happened only a few weeks ago. A row of us were merrily, and quietly, typing away when a new person joined the party. She proceeded to sound like a jackhammer whenever her fingers touched the keyboard. I’m usually sensitive to these things but the entire row stopped what they were doing and stared. Is it that difficult to be a little lighter when typing? I get it if you’re in the flow of an essay and you get carried away, but to the point where you’re making people stare and even forcing some to leave, is probably when you need to re-evaluate.

I actually decided to conduct a little experiment on this and noticed that people were the loudest on their laptops, not when writing an essay but when messaging. Firstly, it’s the library – you should be working. Secondly, you have a phone to message with, so you really don’t need to bother people by bashing your laptop to find out the latest gossip.

Photo: University of St Andrews Archives

Also, again it is the SILENT section – for those who don’t know (and fair warning: I’m going to be patronising now) that means no talking. There is literally an entire floor devoted to you being able to talk – are you that lazy that you can’t move down there for your chat? It’s not even a little chat asking for a pen, but people are having full on conversations and it’s the most frustrating thing. On the Feudrews post, someone responded that background noise is normal and made the point that one day we’ll be working in an office with people using the phone and chatting.

In response to that I say, of course we will, but we won’t be trying to write an essay on Hamlet and Othello in that office. This isn’t an office anyway, it’s a library and it’s the silent section of the library. If we were to flip it round, it’s like walking down to the area you’re allowed to speak in and telling people to shut up. People expect to be able to talk down there, so to tell them to shut up would be unfair, just like people expect the silent section to be silent and to tell them to suck it up if you’re talking is equally unfair.

And finally, though not mentioned in the post, but something I’m nevertheless going to bring up: Nails. I get that work is tedious sometimes and we all get frustrated, but drumming your terrifyingly long fake nails on the desk is one of the most distracted thing you could do in the library. You may as well get an air horn and blow it in my ear – it’s that distracting. So, as a desperate plea from a stressed out third year, please stop with the nail drumming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *