Let’s Get It On

A real story in which I have a conversation with another librarian in front of the group during a discussion period. I did not make this exchange up.

Librarian 1: We can not let students monitor their own behavior in the library because it would be loud and they would be having babies.

Me, ignoring the whole “making babies” comment: What is wrong with students being loud in the library?

Librarian 1 and 2 (someone else piped in): Some people want it to be quiet.

Me: But some people like it loud. Why can’t you have places for both?

Librarian 1: We do not have enough room for that.

At this point the instructor stops the back and forth and I am left thinking the following: But why can’t there be room for both? Because one group wants it quiet everyone has to be that way? What about the people who learn amid noise? If there is room for people to be “having babies,” which I take to mean making out, why is there not room for two areas of the library? Unless they are having sex in the middle of the computer lab or reference section, which I doubt, there have to be some nooks and crannies in the building that could be converted to group study areas.

After the session, one of my colleagues points out to me that the other problem with this statement is that it reduces our students to nothing more than animals. Animals whose purpose it to make noise and babies. If you really view your students this way, you need to find a different job to do. As Parker Palmer says, you have to check the violence you do to others.

This librarian has missed the cluetrain. (At the time of this post publication, the website is down, but it should be back up soon.)

–Jane, left feeling very frustrated with her fellow learners

2 thoughts on “Let’s Get It On

  • July 19, 2006 at 10:18 am

    No, she really meant having babies — that’s a very noisy process, and I for one am darned tired of it in my library.

  • August 3, 2006 at 1:30 pm


    I’m finally getting to read your blog after Immersion. I remember this conversation. Interestingly in my library we politely ignore the porn watchers if they stay out of the way and are discreet on the 3rd floor, which is our quiet floor. The first floor, however, is all about noise noise noise and no porn is allowed. Baby making is not allowed anywhere. Although I seriously doubt anyone would want to remember our dreary stacks as the place of conception – our library is not nearly as romantic and posh as the UH library is. But nonetheless we do try to make it an inviting place for all of the different learning and personality types as all libraries should do. We are about the users after all.

    Love the reference to the Cluetrain in this post.

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