I want to add a ghostly whisper to my library

25 Jun

Here’s a fun idea I haven’t been able to put into any of our library branches yet!

Someone gave a presentation years ago about a Scottish academic library
(update: Saltire centre at Glasgow Caledonian University)
that has a motion sensor in the air lock between it’s lift and it’s quiet reading room, so that once you get out of the lift and head purposefully to the doors a voice says {out of thin air}

“Ssh! Please be quiet in this space.”

Aside from the fun of filming freshers responses to this during O Week (or the joy of a student hacker changing the message for you), this is actually a very good method of warning library users about the usage rules for an approaching space, without requiring the confrontation that can arise from sending staff around to accost people in the library space.

Another technique I have heard used has been to send library staff through quiet areas wearing sandwich boards with Ssh!!! written on them. Or library staff walking around quiet zones with a sheet of paper that reads “Please be quiet” that they can show chatty customers, without needing the stress of having a conversation with them, potentially louder than the original disruptive sound.

How do you ask clients to respect quiet spaces in your places of work?

Do you have customers who still want quiet spaces? 


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