Staff editorial: Noise defeats purpose of library’s computing area

At this point in the semester, it is crucial that the library be a safe haven for those looking to study as students face the daunting task of cramming for mid-term tests and pounding out those pesky term papers.

This isn’t the case, however, at M.D. Anderson Library’s main computer lab. In fact, some students carry on full conversations with each other as if they were hanging out at a frat house while others talk non-stop on their cell phones, making the learning experience rather unpleasant for those actually going to the library to study.

Library officials need to ensure that the library, which students pay for, is readily available for those who need to study.

We understand that the lab isn’t a completely silent study area and that there are places for individual study tucked away in the upper wings of the library. But students who need to work on online quizzes and tests, papers or even research should be able to do so at the library’s main computer lab without the trouble of being disrupted by other students.

Geology senior Elvino Francisco said he feels the main computer lab isn’t the best place to study.

"It’s a big problem for me to concentrate (at the library computer lab) because there are so many people and there’s a lot of noise, and it’s really hard for me to study here," Francisco said.

While some students have no qualms with studying in the lab, others save themselves the trouble of voicing complaints and just go somewhere else.

"Sometimes you have people having conversations and stuff like that, so I don’t really study in this area; I just don’t prefer it. I just get whatever I need here and leave," business management junior Clint Lister said.

Computer science senior and information desk employee Sana Irshad said that the computer lab is loud, but she’s never received a complaint about the noise.

"It does get pretty noisy, but nobody’s actually ever complained about the noise levels and such, because everyone’s pretty loud over here. A couple of groups sit together on one computer and they keep talking. Nobody seems to mind that," Irshad said.

According to reference instruction librarian Mildred Joseph, the library does not have an official policy as far as noise in the main computer lab.

Library officials should implement a policy to ensure all students have an environment in which they can study on any given day or hour at M.D. Anderson Library’s main computer lab. After all, this is what students are here for.

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