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Regulars | By William Cook | December 2017

Noisy Libraries

Whatever happened to quiet and peaceful public libraries? Am I the only oldie who can’t hear myself think in my local library nowadays?  I remember when libraries were hushed, monastic places. Even the tramps who came in to keep warm didn’t dare talk out loud. Everything apart from reading (and possibly breathing) was forbidden. Libraries were serious institutions, policed by fierce librarians who could strike you dumb with a fearsome glare. I didn’t mind. I loved my local library because it was so tranquil. For me, it was a refuge from the hullabaloo of home and school. Libraries are no longer havens for silent study –they’re places to ‘hang out’. Chitchat is encouraged, as I found when I dared remonstrate with a particularly talkative librarian (and got an earful for my pains). As well as making small talk with timewasters, librarians now feel compelled to provide activities for every age...

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