I might try reading the late, great Raymond Carver’s “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?” I bet it’s here somewhere on this library’s shelves.

But I can’t hear myself think, never mind trying to read or, perish the thought, concentrate on my writing.

Some libraries, which used to be places where people went to read and study and work in a quiet environment, are now more noisy than a highway rest area. And the librarians at those libraries are, ironically, among the worst offenders. They carry on loud conversations, with each other and with patrons, in person and on the phone. And they ignore loud talking, intervening only when kids start to horse around and make a ruckus.

Sometimes the din gets so loud that I finally have to leave — unable to concentrate on whatever reading or writing I’m trying to get done.

A while back, I asked one of the librarians if anything could be done to quiet things down — maybe, for example, some of those old “Quiet, Please” signs were gathering dust in the storage room?

“Not going to happen” said the youngish librarian, in a slightly condescending and annoyed tone.

Look, I get it. I’m glad the kids and oldsters still come to the library. I know the library’s much more than a place to read and borrow books –it’s now a community gathering place, which is great.

But I don’t care. Tell the community to keep it down. People are trying to read and do work — trying to concentrate…And maybe folks will be a little more quiet if the nice people who run the place are given a refresher course in Library Whispering 101.


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