Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
Starting this semester, the Townsend Memorial Library has prohibited students from talking on the lower level of the library, creating a “no talking” zone throughout the library. In previous years, students were allowed to talk on the lower level for group sessions, while the upper level was reserved as a silent study area.
Right now students are only allowed to talk in one small area of the lower level, and because the rest of the library is in absolute silence, this creates an awkward environment.
Recently, I walked into the library with a friend to choose a book. I whispered a question to my friend, and I was told to be quiet. I realize that some people just sit and chat in the library and are a distraction, but others are legitimately in the library to study with their classmates.
Cutting out talking almost eliminates group study sessions in the library. The whole purpose of group study sessions is to get together and discuss assignments. Groups cannot do research together without talking. It is virtually impossible.
And if groups aren’t allowed to discuss their work, they can’t make use of the library resources. If the group is researching or studying a certain topic, various research materials are right at their fingertips. Students do not have to worry about combing through pages of internet data in their dorms, the resources are right there.
Some people argue that individuals who want to study with absolute silence can’t concentrate with groups around them. However, those individuals have the whole upper level to study in. I realize that there are limited places for people to study in absolute silence. But, other places on campus do not have the resources the library does.
The SUB was not built to be a study area. The area on the second floor is cramped and lacks table space. The second floor in Mabee is reserved for quiet study but it closes early, where as. the library remains open until 1 a.m. The first floor of Mabee gets loud during the day because people are constantly coming in and out checking their mail or visiting the police station.
The library should get rid of the “no talking” rule, on the lower level which will benefit group study sessions, and give students the chance to access the library’s resources during later hours.