Recently, The University Star published a very well-constructed (column) by columnist Thomas Dunlap about excessive noise levels in the Albert B. Alkek Library. We appreciate his effort to bring these concerns to everyone’s attention and call for resolution.
By and large, library patrons in Alkek are respectful and behave in a manner that maintains an environment supportive of independent and collaborative study and project work. There are occasions when it becomes more attractive to socialize than to work, especially when large groups gather. Purely social gatherings are generally not appropriate for open study areas, especially on quiet floors.
We, at University Libraries, take these concerns to heart. Among the measures we are taking will be additional signage and table tents discouraging distracting behavior and encouraging noise complaints be made to the number on the printed materials. In addition, we have a security/noise complaint link near the top of our website patrons can use to submit immediate concerns online.
The Alkek Library has spaces to accommodate a variety of study and learning styles. For those who need a quiet space, the fifth and sixth floors are designated quiet floors. People who need to collaborate or work better in a busy area may find spaces on the second through fourth floors that meet these needs.
Need to work with your team in an isolated area? The study rooms on the fifth and sixth floors can be reserved for up to two-hour sessions. These are not soundproof, however, so respectful noise levels should be maintained. The seventh floor is the perfect spot for those who are inspired by the beauty of our campus and the greater San Marcos views.
Alkek Library staff is eager to help with any concerns you have while working in the library. Our blue-vested staff can be found at the second-floor “Ask Alkek” desk and third floor Checkout Desk. Staffers want to help ensure library patrons are welcomed, comfortable and productive. We are interested in hearing feedback from our patrons. Under the About section of our website, a link called “How are we doing?” links to a form where you can tell us whether your needs are met or not.
We appreciate these concerns being brought forward. Please help us maintain an atmosphere that is courteous and productive for all by using the library spaces as designed, reporting concerns and showing respect to those around you.
Joan Heath Associate Vice President and University Librarian