On a + note


The power of quiet. #17: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on June 6, 2011


We live in a world full of: industrial noise, street sounds, family sounds and techno noise. My friends and peers would likely describe me as boisterous even noisy by nature. So, it’s a bit ironic that I grew up to be a librarian. And, as folks who work in libraries you would think we have been sheltered from the omnipresent noise pollution of our world. But, with over 1,500 customers streaming through GPL’s doors on a daily basis, we are noisy; from information staff answering questions to computers humming to folks snoring, public libraries are a noisy place.

Famous individuals like: Barak Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Lester B. Pearson and Queen Elizabeth the 2nd are well known for embracing the power of quiet. As I began to think about the intrinsic power of quiet I stumbled across the following ideas that seem to support the concept that quiet is a good and essential thing in this noisy world because:

• Quiet is a catalyst for innovation. To really hear new and innovative ideas we have to be quiet and listen.
• Solitude rebuilds the soul and provides our lives with balance.
• Texting is popular because it is quiet communication!
• Two year olds are not the only folks who need quiet time.
• Thinkers give themselves quiet time every day.
• Quiet leadership is not an oxymoron. It is fundamental to charting change.
• There’s a word for “people who live in their head” we call them thinkers!

So, how does all this apply to your library? We need both noisy and quiet areas in the public library. Libraries need places where people can talk and communicate and places where people can read and study in silence. We need to organize the library environment so we can accommodate both.

It is finding the right balance that is the trick!
Have a great week and a little p&q.

Kitty Pope #17 June 2011
kpope@library.guelph.on.ca

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One Response to 'The power of quiet. #17: 2011'

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  1. Laura said,

    “To those with ears to hear, libraries are really very noisy places. On their shelves we hear the captured voices of the centuries-old conversation that makes up our civilization” –Timothy Healy.


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