Nowadays in our profession it’s more and more common sense that the main function of the academic library as a physical place is no longer so much that of a stock of books where people are using reference literature in reading rooms but more that of a learning space for students of all levels. That is seen as a chance for our institutions and includes ideas like lounge areas, cosy sofas etc. Rules shouldn’t been executed there as strict as it used to be to create a more open and friendly atmosphere. But the irony is: If, as a “modern librarian” you don’t enforce rules on silence etc. too much you’ll get complains like “We go to a library because we expect it to be absolutely silent and we want that and no discussion”. But if you enforce the rules, people often are not satisfied as well and use the “Psst!!!” stereotype etc.
So, how do you find a compromise between the demand for silent workplace and the aim to provide a lifely place for cooperative learning and lively personal contacts in your institution? What is your experience and/or solution?
Looking forward to great days in Netherlands and Belgium!