Please Stop Non-Temple Students From Coming In the Library and Making Noise

A group of people, who are locals and not students, continuously come to the library and have loud conversations that disturb everyone’s peace. They stand in groups and talk for hours, ignoring the students who are trying to get work done. I’m not sure why the staff here lets people without student IDs in. We pay a fortune to go here and it’s not fair for us to be disturbed by people who don’t pay to go here and aren’t even supposed to be allowed in the library to begin with.

Thank you for sharing your concerns about noise in the library. Our goal is to provide our students with the best possible study space, so we do pay attention to noise issues.

But let me first clarify what appears to be a misunderstanding on your part. Temple University Libraries is open to the public. We invite all community members to use our Library. So everyone is allowed to be in the Library, not just those with a currently valid Temple ID card. Those who do not have a Temple ID must show a form of photo identification and sign in with the door guard. It is part of Temple University’s mission to serve the public and the surrounding communities, and Temple Libraries supports that mission.

That said, we do expect everyone who comes into the Library, Temple student or otherwise, to abide our Library Code of Conduct, which asks for all patrons to be respectful of other and to maintain a quiet environment. You can find it here: (and we have it posted at our entrances)

So what can you do when students are being noisy and disturbing your ability to have a peaceful, quiet study space?

First, make sure you are actually in one of the Library’s quiet zones. If you’re trying to find quiet in one of our noise tolerant areas, such as the first floor west or the second floor east, you really can’t blame others for talking. We have a guide to all the quiet, study areas in the Libraries:

Second, what if you are in a designated study space and other people (whether it is students or otherwise) are making noise and disturbing you? Consider politely reminding them they are in a quiet zone and that if they wish to talk to go to a noise tolerant space in the library. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can ask a staff member to do that for you. Depending on the time of the day, for example, late evenings, we may only have staff at the Tuttleman service desk. There are red phones on each floor that can be used to call that desk directly. Staff members will intervene as needed.

Research has shown (yes, librarians have actually done research on what contributes to and helps prevent noise in libraries) that the most effective way for noise to be controlled is for patrons who want to keep things quiet to self-police and remind others that the library is a quiet space for study – and especially is areas designated for quiet study.

If patrons, Temple students or otherwise, continue to be noisy and refuse to move to another space, they will be in violation of our Library Code of Conduct and will we deal with that accordingly.

Sorry that you had a bad experience here, and we hope that you are able to find a better, more quiet space in the Library that suits your needs.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian
Temple Libraries

How About Adding A Decibel Meter at Paley Library

I’d like to see a decibel meter installed on the first floor of Paley. When it goes above a certain level (Craig LaBan, Inquirer Restaurant Critic in his reviews lists “Ideal is 75 decibels or less”) staff should take action calming groups down. 

There’s no question that it can get loud on the first floor of Paley Library – but that’s mostly true only of the west side where all the computers are located. Just as with any area where you have computers, students will gather to socialize and then it can get loud. We have looked into getting one of the meters you suggest. They actually have one in the TECH Center. Given the expense of this device we felt that it would not be the best use of our funding allocation.

If you believe it is too loud in this area here are some suggestions:

  1. Find a quieter area of the library. We have designated quiet zones throughout the Paley Library. For example, the west side of the second floor. It is also quite quiet in the Media Services area on the lower level.
  2. If you need to work in the computer area on the first floor and a group of students is really loud, go to the service desk and report it to someone at the desk. Our service desk staff will ask students to tone it down, but we can’t expect this area to be always be 75 decibels or less.
  3. Did you try to check out the flex study area on the first floor in the computer area. We have some sound-dampening walls that you can fold out to make an on-the-fly study space. There are some work tables there. You may find this is a slightly quieter space to do your work.

We hope these tips are helpful to you. Thanks for sharing this suggestion.


Please Silence All Computers

Can you disable the volumes on the computers, so that it can only be audible through headphones. Don’t disable it entirely, but please make sure the computers can’t play any sound loudly without the use of headphones. 

Thanks for sharing what many of us consider an annoyance when we are trying to study with some quiet. It is our policy that headphones should always be used when listening to media of any type on our library computers. We even loan headphones to those who don’t have a pair (go to our Media Services Department).

According to the Library Systems Office, if a computer is ordered without an internal speaker, the computer will not be capable of producing any sound. We will investigate to determine if it is possible to customize the sound card to allow for sound through the headphone jack while disabling the speaker. It may be possible but we will have to experiment.

In the meantime, if a patron is making noise that is disturbing your study, if you do not feel comfortable asking the person to use headphones or stop the noise, go to a service desk and ask a member of the library staff to speak to the person making the noise. You other option is to study in one of our multiple quiet zones. If you need a computer, you can borrow a laptop from our circulation desk and take it to any quiet zone.

Thank you for sharing your suggestion with us.

Quiet – Please, Please, Please

Please please please start enforcing the quiet zone rules! I’ve started off in the tech center, which became to loud, so I moved to the library which was okay for awhile. But now people just come to the quiet zone because it’s quiet enough for them to talk or do group work.  Please hang up more signs on the table and walks  or even get someone to walk around to maintain silence. Thank you

 Thank you for sharing your concerns about the noise you are hearing in our library quiet zones. It is unfortunate that students are talking and doing group work in these spaces. While the library staff are not about to become a team of roving quiet police, there are a few things to share that might be helpful when this happens.

When you are in a quiet zone, there should be “quiet zone” stencils in the area. We put them up not only to indicate where the zones are – but also to help students who are seeking quiet. If you are in the quiet zone and other students are not respecting the quiet, simply get their attention and point to the “quiet zone” stencil. Remind them where they are in the library, and you might also mention that the 2nd floor east is the noise tolerant space for groups or those who like to talk in the library. If other students are ignoring these very large “quiet zone” signs and the signs on the stairwell doors, more signs are not going to solve the problem.

According to experiences here and at other similar libraries, student self-policing of noise and other annoying behaviors is far more effective than asking library staff to enforce rules. If you feel uncomfortable asking others to be quiet, then by all means seek out a staff member who will do this for you. All staff will be reminded that they should assist students who need help with a noise situation. I hope this will help to improve the problem.