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Helena Ruff has published 19 articles

Keble crackdown on library noise

Dean sends strongly worded email to students warning of 'no second offences' and 'no grey areas'
Helena Ruff on Thursday 3rd May 2012
Photograph: Alice Bullough

Students at Keble College have been reminded about the need for silence in their college library in a sharply written notice from the Senior Dean, Dr Simon Hunt.

The notice, which has been displayed in the lodge for over a week and was emailed to all Keble students in a response to 'consistent complaints', stated, “It is mainly just chit-chat by people who don’t take the trouble to converse outside the library…[but] there are other inconsiderate noises such as noises in earbuds and crinkling wrappers.”

It warned that “on library etiquette there are no grey areas” and that “the deans and librarians would show no leniency” when dealing with disturbances. Hunt also added that they wished students to “exert peer pressure to alter the culture so that making a noise becomes simply unacceptable.”

The Dean reminded students, “that this term in particular, with exams and revision already ongoing, it's essential for all students to observe proper silence in the Library at all times”, and wrote that the “Dean Team” would be making “random visits”. The Dean added that the college “would not hesitate to fine those making a disturbance', warning students that there would be no ‘second offences”.

This new enforcement of library etiquette has met with mixed reactions from students. One fresher, who did not wish to be identified, said, “It is very distracting when people leave their phones out buzzing really loudly and whispering to each other, but I think the email did go a bit far.”

First year Classical Archaeology and Ancient History student Justyna Ladosz commented, “Even though it is really annoying when people make a noise in the library, I don’t think that the ‘Dean Team’ are nearly scary enough to make any difference.”

The email was also met by rather bemused reactions. First year linguist, Ben Haveron, told Cherwell, “The phrase, ‘there will be no second offences’ sounds like they’re going to kill you” but still advised that “at 4am you can make all the noise you want and there’s no one to get annoyed.”

Second year student, Owen Campbell-Moore, commented, “The email was pretty hilarious”, and remarked that people were already being stricter in the library, adding, “last week I whispered something quickly to my girlfriend next to me and someone told me to shush.”

Another first year, who did not want to be named, commented on the harsh nature of the email, saying that sticking to the new etiquette “will be difficult, I’m not a quiet person.”

They added, “People are people, you’ll see someone you know and talk, but I will try to help keep a good working environment now.”

Keble College librarian, Ms Yvonne Murphy, told Cherwell, “We are trying to make the library a good place for everyone, the restrictions haven’t changed - there’s nothing different, they’re just being re-enforced.”

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