Does Paley Library Actually Get Cleaned?

How often does housekeeping clean the guest computer area? The desktops are dirty and people don’t throw their trash away when they leave.

¬†Although this question is more specific to the “guest computer area” in Tuttleman opposite the Paley Circulation/Reserve Desk, it is worthwhile to share some general information about the frequency of housekeeping¬†services for Paley Library. Although at peak times of operation it may seem like Paley isn’t being cleaned regularly, the answer to the question is YES. Paley Library, like most Temple buildings, has a regular, daily cleaning schedule. A crew is assigned to clean up the Library every evening, even on the weekends. This is true of Tuttleman as well.

During the day hours, especially on the weekends, the degree of housekeeping service is much more limited. For one thing, it would be extremely difficult to clean the furniture surfaces, floors, empty trash, etc. when the library can be quite packed with people using the resources. There are skeleton crews that work their way through different buildings to tackle any challenging mess. So depending on what time you arrive at the library, the degree of traffic in the building that day, and yes – whether the people who use the library make an effort to remove their trash – can impact on the state of cleanliness you will discover.

Unfortunately, while we wish every person using our Libraries would remember to dispose of their trash in the right place, you are likely to encounter a mess left by someone else from timt to time. Given the amount of mess created in Paley every day, we really appreciate the great job our housekeeing staff does to keep things clean here.

Those New Student Tour Groups Are Creating A Problem

The prospective and new student tour groups need to adjust their meeting spots in such a way that minimizes the impact upon those attempting to make use of Paley Library. Currently, the tour groups tend to mob the self-checkout machines, drop boxes, and leisure Reading sections severely impacting and often preventing their usage.


Thanks for sharing your concerns about the impact the new student tour groups have on the first floor of Paley Library. We too have observed this problem in past years, and we have repeatedly contacted the office that supervises the tours to remind the students guiding them that they have to be aware of where they are in the Library, and to be careful not to create an access barrier for students wanting to use the self-checks, get to the stairwell or whatever it might be.

I will take two actions in response to your complaint. First, I will send a reminder (and your complaint) about this to the the person who supervises all the campus tours for prospective students.Second, I will send a reminder to our staff members who work at the “Ask Here” desk asking them to remind the students leading the tours to keep pathways to doors, collections and equipment clear when this becomes an issue.

To what extent these actions will improve matters I cannot say – hopefully quite well. I can only hope the student tour guides will remember this. In the future if you or other students have a problem being created by one of the student tour groups, keep in mind that you can ask the groups to move aside, or work your way into or around it, or ask a librarian to assist you.

But do let us keep in mind that these tours are important, and that we want our prospective students to come into the library. Let’s just hope we can have it be less of a barrier to access for you other students.

If We Had More Outlets No One Would Trip Over My Power Cord

I often study on the first floor where the new study carols (study desk) have been added. While studying, in less than 20 minutes six people tripped over my laptop cord, one of which almost knocked my laptop to the floor. It is my hope that more electrical cords will be added in a more convenient place (i.e. floor, side panels of the study desk etc.). 

The issue of the need for more electrical outlets has been addressed in a previous post to our suggestion blog. You can read it here

As was indicated in that earlier post, we’d love to add more outlets to meet the needs of students who need to power up or charge their technology devices. As we noted:

Adding a lot of outlets is impossible in the current building since we are now at full electrical capacity and cannot add any more circuits to existing panels. 

So unfortunately we have no easy solution here. If you are planning to study at the library, charge up your device ahead of time. Get to know the areas of the libraries where more outlets are found. And by the way, please be careful about those power cords. We really want to avoid having someone get hurt because they tripped over your power cord.

Please Ban Cell Phone Use in the Library

Why are students allowed to use cell phones in the library and Tuttleman? It seems to go against the whole concept of a library. When people talk in the corridor between the two buildings and in the elevator lobbies, it echoes and makes studying difficult. I shouldn’t have to move as not to be bothered by cell phone users in the library and Tuttleman.

Thank you for sharing your concerns about noise in the library. We have responded to this type of suggestion previously and I will point you to our response. Please read it for more information on this matter.

In general, this is a problem not only in libraries but all types of public places. We speak frequently to our colleagues in other large, research libraries. Those that have posted signs prohibiting cell phone use have found them ineffective. If someone wants to talk on their cell phone, they will. The good news is that more people are being sensitive to this issue and either take their cell phones outside or talk in a quiet voice so they won’t disturb others.

As our prior post suggests, you can do three things. One, seek out our quiet zones and do your library work there. The area you mentioned is heavily trafficked so it tends to have more noise and activity. As in any public situation, if someone is being loud and disturbing you, please ask that person to be quiet or go elsewhere. Most people are not aware they are disturbing others and will be glad to comply. Third, if you prefer not to speak to that person, go to someone at one of our public service desks and report the situation. Our library staff are ready to speak to patrons about these noise matters or any other situation that makes it difficult for you to do your work in the library. We will do our best to create and keep a library environment that is productive, secure and inviting for every member of the Temple University community. If it isn’t working out that way for you, please let us know.

Lockers Would Be A Great Addition To The Library

A good number of lockers should be available some where in the library, so if students wanted to keep books in the library overnight (and possibly longer) they would be able to do so.

Thank you for sharing your suggestion about offering lockers in the library. There are academic libraries that offer lockers to students, and there certainly is some utility in offering students the ability to store books or personal items while in the library. Short of saying “We tried this before and it didn’t work”, perhaps the best response to your request is that we’ll look into possible options for offering lockers. A few things to share:

1) Did you know that Paley Library had lockers when it first opened? You can actually still find some of these (no longer operational) lockers on the south side of the 2nd and 3rd floors. Many others were removed long ago. Why were they removed? That’s the “it didn’t work part”. Students would routinely store books without checking them out, so many books were thought to be missing. Additional staff time was then needed just for locker checks – not an efficient use of staff. And students would also store perishable food in their lockers leading to oders and insect problems. But perhaps a better system can be devised.

2) Is this a wise investment of University funds? You have probably heard by now that the Temple University Campus 20/20 plan calls for a new library building. While that is not yet finalized, if we were to build something new that would become operational in three or four years, does it make sense to spend a considerable sum on lockers that would be in use for just a few, short years?

3) We would want to avoid allowing long-term lockers; at best day-only lockers might work. One concern is the loss of valuables that students might store – such as a laptop or cellphone. This became a problem with the original Paley Library lockers.

We can certainly explore the options and costs, see what other university libraries are doing and then make recommendations to the University’s facilities management group. It’s not clear if adding lockers is necessary – we don’t get many requests for them. But we will look into it. Thanks for your suggestion.

What Do I Have To Do To Get Quiet In This Library

Many people go to Paley’s 3rd floor to study in a quiet area. However the floor is getting noisy and noise everyday. People talking on the phones, chatting with their friends, eating meals on the table. And I do not see any body commenting or stopping them from doing so. I’ve personnally asked some of people to quiet. Can you keep 3rd floor quiet please? Where else do i have to to study quietly on the campus if the library is too loud?


Have you noticed that it’s difficult to find a truly quiet public place these days. People on cell phones on public transportation. People talking loudly in movie theatres. People listening to music so loudly you can hear it through their headphones. Noise in public places is a societal issue because in general people are less considerate of their fellow citizens than they used to be. Paley Library – in fact all libraries – are not immune from this problem. A library used to be equated with golden silence, but that is no longer the case.


We appreciate that you are sharing your concerns with us, and it’s great that you have attempted to solve the problem by asking others around you to be quiet. What we’ve heard from our library colleagues at other institutions is that the most effective resolution to noise in the library is when students self-police and police their fellow students. When asked to hold down the noise, most students will politely comply, though we know this is not always the case.


What we’re attempting to do about the noise challenge is to use a “zoning” approach. We have specified different areas of the Paley Library as quiet zones or group study (noise-tolerant) zones. For example, the first floor west is a group zone – and noise there is tolerated. However, the east side of the first floor is a quiet zone, and we expect students to study quietly there. The east side of the second level, on the other hand, is a noise-tolerant zone. So please make sure that you are studying in one of the quiet zones. It is possible students will not be aware of which zone they are in. So if you are in a dedicated quiet zone and other students are making noise please do remind them they are in a quiet zone – all these zones are clearly marked when you enter them.


If you find a group of students are being particularly noisy or a single student is speaking loudly into a cell phone, first consider pointing out to the offending party about the quiet zone location. If the student(s) continues to be noisy, please bring it to the attention of a staff member who will intervene. Please bear in mind that at some late hours or on weekends we may not have sufficient staffing to attend to every noise situation.  

Please DisplayThe Food Policy More Prominently

Hi! I noticed that nobody really seems to follow the food policy at all. I’m constantly seeing people with chinese food and other pretty smelly stuff not only on the ground floor but in the stacks as well. It’s not only the smell that’s gross but also the “eating sounds” and the mess that’s usually left behind. I’ve even seen people come to the library with food, eat it, and leave. Any way that the policy could be more prominently displayed?

Thanks for sharing your concerns about students eating what our policy refers to as “messy or aromatic” foods when in the library. We too are concerned when students ignore the policy rather than self-police their food consumption in Paley Library. Our policy does allow covered beverage containers and small snacks. As you point out, it can not only be distracting or even disturbing to other students, but food and beverage messes make the Library a less enjoyable place to study and it invites bugs and mice to boldly go wherever they can find food.

We currently display the policy on posters on every level of the library. This semester we added reminder cards about the food/beverage policy on computer tables throughout the first floor. Despite our efforts we acknowledge that it will be impossible to enforce this one hundred percent in a building of Paley’s size. Although the door guards will flag students bringing in obvious bags or containers of food, many students can easily conceal it in their book bags. Our food/beverage policy is one of self-enforcement, which may not always work. It is not our intention to police the policy and ask those violating it to leave the building. We want everyone to feel welcome in the building.

Please know that this isn’t a problem unique to Paley Library. We hear the same concerns about food and beverages from our library colleagues around the country. However, given the lack of good food consumption areas on campus and the food truck culture of Temple, it really does amplify the problem at Paley Library. What we have heard from our colleagues is that the best solution is for students to police each other. Simply reminding another student about the food policy may be the most effective way to encourage your fellow students to follow the policies. You might remind other students that the Library has a cafe on the first floor which is open for food consumption. 

If you see an egregious violation of the policy you may wish to bring it to a staff member’s attention. A staff member is able to bring the policy to the attention of students, but again, we typically will not ask students to discard their food or leave the building. We hope that over time more students will voluntarily observe the policy – and over the past two academic years – we have seen a significant reduction in the amount of food being consumed in the Library – thanks to both our cafe and signage. It may be a bit of exaggeration to say that “nobody follows the food policy at all.” Just look at all the food being consumed in the cafe. Notice how many students are only eating snacks – no messy foods. The vast majority of the students in Paley Library are following the policy. Unfortunately, there is a minority that ignores the policy. We hope to do better in the future with help from you and other students.


Why Is It So Cold Here? Please Warm Up Paley.


It’s really cold in here. Can it be at least a little warmer? It doesn’t have to be this cold.

Ah, if only we were able to achieve the ideal temperature setting in every area of Paley Library. But given the nature of our 165,000 square foot facility, and the idiosyncrasies of our heating and cooling system, were we to ask facilities to come and warm up the building, we might regret that the very next day by experiencing too warm temperatures. While we do our best to regulate the temperature across the entire Paley building, there are going to be situations where it may be too cold or too warm for individual preferences in any particular spot in the facility. But it would be a challenge to warm up or cool down any specific zone without perhaps affecting the temperature in another zone. The Temple University’s facilities department regulates the building temperature on a seasonal basis. This can be a challenge if it is unseasonably warm or cold for a few days.

If you find the area where you like to study a bit cold from time to time, bring along your favorite hoody. And if you do want us to follow up on what you think is a particular problem, please be sure to let us know exactly what part of the Paley building you think needs a temperature adjustment. We will then follow up.

Any Advice For Dealing With Noisy People

I’m sitting here using a computer and there’s a group nearby that is kind of noisy and they’re watching a video with loud music. I’m reluctant to ask them to stop. I don’t want to get into a confrontation. What can I do to get some quiet in the library?

We want your visit to and time spent in the Paley Library to be productive and peaceful. In other words, we want you to have a good library experience – and we want you to tell others about it and come back again. So never hesitate to let us know what we – and by “we” that means any library staff member at any desk or at work in the library or someone in our administrative office on the mezzanine level – can do to make your time in the library more satisfying.

Were you in one of our quiet zones? The computer commons on the first floor west (13th Street side) is not designated for quiet study so you can expect more noise there. However, we do ask everyone to use headphones if listening to music or any type of audio. If someone is creating computer noise that is disturbing you feel free to ask a library staff member at any service desk to intervene on your behalf. There are quiet zones throughout the Paley Library. Many of the quiet zones have computers. You can also borrow a laptop or netbook computer from the Circulation Desk in Tuttleman for use anywhere in the library. Take a computer to your own quiet spot.

In the future, consider simply asking your fellow students to hold down the noise, especially if it’s a quiet zone. Most students are courteous and will be glad to comply with your request. If that doesn’t work or you would rather not ask, again, seek assistance from a member of the Library staff.

How About More Hours Before Summer Session One Finals

Is there any chance that the library could be open a bit longer next weekend since finals are on the Monday right after it? It would really help a lot of students to have access to a quiet study area.

Thanks for your suggestion. We always have extended hours for finals during the fall and spring semesters, but not during the summer sessions. We can’t offer as many extra hours as we do during the regular semesters, but to accomodate requests for additional hours we are going to extend the building hours from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Sunday, June 28. So you’ll have a few extra hours in the Library before finals on Monday. We hope this helps, and we’ll keep this in mind for future summer sessions.