NNNY – Day 12: The price of silence

Cone of Silence

Air conditioning and wi-fi: the two main reasons I’ve temporarily set-up office at the local library. With the heat wave we’ve been having here in Sydney, I could probably even forego the wi-fi but unless I’m studying under arctic conditions, I fidget like a kid in church.

Speaking of church, I would love to be able to add ‘quiet study’ to that list but with the screeching kids, mobile phones and giggling teenagers, that’s just not gonna happen. I’ve tried visiting other libraries in the network, but in each location silence eludes me.

It really shouldn’t be much of a surprise though; in fact it makes a lot of sense. As digital publications slowly replace their paper-based parents, it’s only logical that patronage would decline along with vital funding. The question then becomes: “How do we get people into the library?”

Just like any other operation, community libraries are reacting to their customers’ interests – or at least they think they are. A study conducted by The Pew Research Center – “Libraries in the Digital Age” - polled over 2200 people, and revealed that members’ main priorities were “borrowing books” (80%), “help from librarian” (80%) and “access to Internet” (77%), not the activities and services that many library experts deem as imperative. It seems these “experts” perceive the future of the library as being a social centre on par with a wi-fi café going so far as to say, “Libraries should be the social hub of the community, and to do that the customers have to be able to use cellphones in the library, congregate around computers, sit and visit, laugh out loud and be noisy.”

Resigned to the fact that my local’s adopted the “happy hour” approach, I’ve resorted to wearing ear plugs to create my cone of silence. I do however take solace in knowing the convenience store around the corner sells Hush-A-Foam ear plugs and judging by their outlandish price of $8.95 and prime positioning there must be others in my quest for silence.



NNNY – Day 12

12 JANUARY 2014 

No. of new items

No. of used items

Cost of new items

Cost of used items

Exempts amount

Matching amount

Evaded amount


 1  $8.95  $8.95  $1

TOTALS: To date

 5  $85.35  $85.35  $1


Miller, M. 2013. Bring back shushing librarians. Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/2013/01/31/bring_back_shushing_librarians/)
Zichur, K, Rainie, L & Purcell, K. 2013. Library Services in the Digital Age. Pew Internet and American Life Project. http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/01/22/library-services/



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