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Thomas Paul Murphy
Monday, March 4, 2013
Letter to the Whitefish Bay Library 03 04 2013
A Library is supposed to be a quiet place.
It is neither a day care center for children nor the
mentally retarded, nor is it a socialite center. (accept on special occasions)
nor a respite for lonely old curmudgeons.
It is a quiet place to work and study and should be
maintained as such. A librarian must have the strength to reprimand and
evict those who are talking noisily as if they are at a coffee shop. A
Librarian must say to a parent, this is not a place for your undisciplined
children to run around wild. A librarian must say to a lonely old
curmudgeon who seeks to talk loudly as if he has whiskey on his breath and is
the most important person in the place to keep his voice down.
I complained to the librarian yesterday and she told me that
there was a problem with the acoustics in the place that sound traveled from
one end all the way to the other.
A library should indeed maintain the principals listed above
even if it has a children’s section. For the love of God when I was a boy
and my mother took me to the library I kept quiet! And I knew to keep
quiet. It was unheard of that I would behave like these children
do. Now I know that sometimes we come out of the cold and have a tendency
to raise our voices as we see the friendly librarians faces. Does the
library need a glass framework with open glass doors to section off the front
part of the clerks checkout station?
Do you know what I am hearing? That children are very
disrespectful to teachers in Whitefish Bay. The library should not be the
initial atmosphere where they are allowed to foster this disrespect for what
can be considered the most important members of a community the teachers and
Also a Librarian should not be one to subjectively determine
who is being noisy and who isn’t. For example typing is considered an
activity that is okay to do in a library while talking to your girlfriend like
you are baggers at the ethnic grocery store is not.
In summary in the absence of the will to indoctrinate
disciplinary action at the library you might consider installing acoustic
ceiling panels. For an example of how simple they are and how effective
they are visit Remington’s Riverside Inn in Thiensville. It is a
restaurant and has these acoustic tiles on the ceiling. If properly
placed symmetrically in the library they would indeed cut the travel of noise
They are essentially a wooden picture frame with a mesh
cloth stapled to them like a canvas. Retrofitting your library with them
could be done very inexpensively. The fames are constructed, the cloth
stapled to them, a man gets up on a ladder and screws them or a bracket that
holds them in place to the ceiling studs. Two 2”x4” x8’s cost ~ $4 and
could be used to make the frame for one. However they tend to warp.
But that gives you an idea of what the cost should be. Who knows you
might even be able to contract with the High School Shop class to have them
Also this is an issue with quite a few libraries in
Milwaukee and needs to be addressed by them too.