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"You might think that I am off base, but I am published by the Securities and Exchange Commission."

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 faculty.


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 down considerably.


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 constructed.


Also this is an issue with quite a few libraries in Milwaukee and needs to be addressed by them too.


Thomas Paul Murphy





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