Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | February 6, 2013

To shush or not to shush recently posted an interesting article highlighting an issue all libraries face:  preserve a space of silence in this mad world, or welcome people and children with all their voices, laughs, and digital bells and whistles?

In a recent study asking people to rate what’s most important about libraries, respondents rated “quiet study spaces” just one percentage point below “free internet access.”  That’s a surprising piece of data to me.

At our library, we try to do both: provide quiet study rooms and computer lab, and allow people to be more relaxed in the main part of the library (as long as they aren’t disturbing others).

So what do you think?   Is it more important to be welcoming and allow talking, working together, reading stories aloud, etc., or to be more strict about keeping the library quiet?  To shush or not to shush: tell us what you think in the comments, below.

–Mary Beth



  1. I like a traditionally quiet library, but I guess a moderate amount of talk and activity would be fine. I’m sure that my favorite librarians will be able to keep the ruckus to a minimum. 🙂

    • {blush} We try. But remember: any time you are disturbed by anything happening in our library, we want to know! Just come up to the front desk and we’ll try our best to get you what you need.

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