University of Limerick hires library noise monitor

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

A noise monitor will ensure that diligent students like Bridin Ryan, Newport, can work in peace and quiet at UL's Glucksman Library [Picture: Michael Cowhey]
UL students won’t have any studying excuses in the run-up to exams as a library noise monitor will ensure silence is golden.

UL students won’t have any studying excuses in the run-up to exams as a library noise monitor will ensure silence is golden.

The Glucksman Library received over 20 applications to their job advert looking to recruit a monitor to help manage noise.

Were students busy talking, texting or tweeting instead of taking their studies seriously?

On the contrary, says Michelle Breen, library administrator.

Ms Breen says a noise monitor is one of many interventions that UL Library has introduced over the years to improve customer satisfaction with noise levels.

“The library becomes a hive of activity coming up to Christmas and summer exams. Students are extremely busy and serious deadlines loom.

“Library staff and security staff patrol the building to ensure that students are complying with our noise policy.

“In addition to these patrols, for the first time this year we employed a part time postgraduate student to work as a noise monitor during this busy period,” said Ms Breen.

They will circulate throughout the library to ensure that rules specified for each noise zone and the use of mobile phones are observed.

“He wears a distinctive blue T-shirt that identifies him as the noise monitor and he gets very good co-operation from students.

“Student noise monitors are used in other libraries internationally and the idea is based on the principle of student peers managing their own noise levels,” said Ms Breen.

When the pressure is on and you are cramming for exams there are few things as annoying as a person chatting on their phone.

One of the monitor’s roles is to ensure mobile phones are set to silent mode and that there is no talking on phones.

The Glucksman Library is one of the most heavily used spaces on campus. Almost one million people enter the library every year.

With 12,000 UL students the library has a diverse range of users with many different needs. “Students come to the library to borrow books, go online, complete assignments, do group work and study silently when they need to.

“Virtually all modern libraries have are faced with the challenge of providing different spaces for different tasks and accommodating large numbers, while providing quiet space for those who want it,” explained Ms Breen.

She and her colleagues have made a number of improvements in recent years including glassing off the atria, installing doors in to reading areas, and relocating service desks away from seating areas to the already busy ground floor.

“Most recently we zoned the spaces in the building according to the different uses people make of libraries; group study areas, quiet spaces, silent areas and phone zones.

“The zones are signposted and patrolled and we differentiate them using colour coding on our printed signs. Zoning is also a common solution in managing noise levels in academic libraries in the UK and US.

“The many initiatives have been greatly welcomed by our students and have led to a significant increase in customer satisfaction levels with the library.”