Library Stereotypes: Shhh!

Being a librarian is great- you get to learn loads, help students out, and play with new technology. But there are some parts of the job that aren’t so great- such the stereotypes. As a man in a field dominated by women, I find it a little disturbing when this is what most people think, when they think of librarians.

Image: jooleeah_stahkey via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Image: jooleeah_stahkey via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

CPIT’s library doesn’t, I like to think, live up to the old stereotypes of the “Shh!” librarian in a tweed skirt with a bun in his hair. However, in the past month or so, we’ve had quite a few complaints from people in the quiet spaces of the library, which haven’t been so quiet.

Soooo, to try to be responsive to what our patrons need, we’re going to be a little more proactive in asking for a minimum of noise in the quiet areas of the library: The Gateway, L131, and all open space upstairs- except the facade to the Atrium.


Please bear in mind that some of your course mates don’t have quiet space at home to study, and for many people the library is the best place to get your head down and get that assignment written. If you notice a lot of noise in a quiet area, let one of us know and we’ll ask the room to dial it back a bit.


So please: be respectful to those around you. Keep noise to a minimum in the quiet areas, and if you are asked by myself or one of the other library staff to tone down the noise, please try to think of us as helpful professionals, trying to ensure that everyone gets a chance to show their finest, as opposed to fire-breathing monsters ruining your day for giggles.

Here is a 1-minute video from the 1989 movie UHF which has inspired me to try to break these stereotypes. Return your books on time or else.

Library as Learning Space

I recently read an interesting article on the design of learning spaces. It featured research into how students rank  the design of space in Colleges in the US. I was not entirely surprised to discover that less than 30% found any space inspiring, and even fewer found designated spaces effective for study and learning.


I was interested that more than 70% of students said they prefered to work alone, as opposed to in a group. We struggle in this library to provide enough quiet study space, and that is partly due to the fact that many students seem to prefer to study collaboratively, in small groups, with lots of discussion. Perhaps Polytechnic students are different, or the nature of assignments?

Future plans for the CPIT Library space will include more individual study space, and quiet corners, and more flexibility in how a space can be configured and used, in the hope that we can be both inspiring and effective.

The sound of silence – Quiet Study Room now available

There is a dedicated quiet study space available in the Library. The Waimakariri River Room – L215 (by the lift on Level 2) has been fitted out with study carrels to be used for silent, individual study.

Quiet Study Room L215
The design of the Library is well suited to collaborative and group study, and it has been great to see so many students enjoying the relaxed environment, making use of the wifi, the computer suites and the collections.  But we do know that sometimes you just need a quiet space to study, and it can be hard to find.
Level 2 is a designated quiet study zone, but when the Library is full and ‘humming’ downstairs, the noise flows up the open stairwell, making it hard to maintain a quiet atmosphere upstairs.
 The Waimakariri Room is now available for quiet individual study. If you are wanting to work in a group, or with a partner, please work downstairs, or book one of the other River Rooms.  
Enjoy! ….quietly.

Your Feedback

We are always happy to hear from staff and students about Library Services. Here is a selection of comments we received recently….

“The POD is the only computer suite after hours.  We used to have more.   Why are they closed?”

“Security staff need to monitor the behaviour in the POD at night.”

We have asked Facilities Management to provide access to at least one other computer suite as an alternative to the POD as an after-hours study room. When using CPIT facilities at night please be considerate to other people, and follow the same etiquette as during the day.

“All computer labs should be quiet zones with security or staff checking.”          

“There are no regulations in this library.” “A library should be a quiet place to study.  It’s a very noisy library.”

The Library is a popular destination for students, and is often busy and noisy. We do appreciate that some people need a quiet place to to study, and we have quiet zones on Level 2 with study carrels, benches and tables; and downstairs in the Gateway (L122) at the back of the Library. The Music Room and leisure reading corner also tend to be quieter, further away from the main entrance.  The Rakaia River Room on the first floor is also a quiet study room.  We endeavour to monitor noise levels, and behaviour so please let us know if you are being disturbed.

     People talking on cell phones are very annoying when I am studying.”                                     

Cellphones are to be on SILENT while you are in the Library.  Please go into the Atrium to take calls.  People tend to speak loudly on phones and it does disturb others.

Some people are not very considerate – they have loud music – are messy with food – rattle their belongings.  I’m trying to study!!  “                     Headphones Clip Art

If you are using headphones to listen to music, please keep the volume down so that other people cannot hear the music, or base sounds, which are very annoying when you are studying.       


When you fill out feedback forms can you please PRINT your contact details so that we can answer your questions.  Sometimes we cannot read the email addresses.                                                                          


Shhh! It’s a Library

Quiet study area

Over the years Libraries have changed. Gone are the days of quiet whispering, and the image of the Librarian stern-faced, with a finger raised against their lips. The Library has become much more of a social, collaborative learning space, somewhere to track down resources, prepare for a presentation, conduct research, meet friends, work in small groups, share ideas, or type up an assignment.

At CPIT the Library has tried to accomodate the changing needs of students with group study rooms, quieter study areas on the second floor, the provision of collaborative computer workspace, and  increased access to wifi for laptop use. But..with increased student numbers, and limited study space, finding somewhere for traditional quiet study is increasingly hard.

We have decided to designate L122 the smaller of the three computer suites in the Library, as a quiet study zone.

There are three computer suites in the library. The Pod, L131 and L122. The POD has 24hour access, and L131 is designed as a teaching suite, but when it is not booked for classes it is available as a student computer suite. L122 is a smaller suite with 12 computers and a small study desk. This is considered a quiet study zone. Please respect the need to keep this room free from conversation, phone calls and collaborative study. Use one of the other suites if you need to talk.

As with all of our computer suites – no food is allowed in this room. Drink in a sealed container is ok.

 There is also a small quiet study room on the ground floor adjacent to the service desk. It has no computers, but has individual study carrels.