The first thing that comes to mind for most people about a library is a little old lady with wire rimmed glasses on the tip of her nose, hair in a bun, index finger pursed to her lips, shushing you! They’ve even made an action figure out of her. This image brings a smile to our face, but in the big scheme of things, shushing has a terrible impact on library patrons, especially boys.
3 problems with shushing
1. It’s offensive
2. It’s almost always unneeded
3. It makes a patron feel unwelcomed
Reassure adults that noise is ok
For the most part, kids are oblivious when it gets noisy in the library, even when they are reading, writing, or intensely concentrating on something. Most of the time adults have more of an issue with noise because:
- they don’t want to be disrespectful of the rules,
- they are worried about how the kids will represent them, or
- they are simply accustomed to a quiet library.
Whenever a new or substitute teacher is in the library, I make a point to tell them that noise is an acceptable part of our library vision.
Provide a quiet room
Most libraries have a small study room. Make this available and offer it to a student that is having noise issues.
The time for change has come!
Libraries have changed so much over the years, but it will take some time to break this old stereotypical image. It’s high time we create a new image for libraries! A “No Shushing” policy is one step in the right direction.
Questions to Discuss
What are your thoughts about a “No Shushing” policy?