Know Your Zone

How do students know where to work or socialize in your library?

Issues we sometimes have in our space: students congregating around a friend in a study carrel and talking, a student taking up a study room meant for groups, people chatting in a silent room, a loud group of eight at a table meant for four or five.

Our upper school library is mainly a big room with three break-out rooms and a library classroom. The main part of the library has table seating for about 40 people, a lounge area, and about 40 study carrels surround the bookshelves. Obviously noise is an issue in our  large room, especially at lunch, and we are constantly trying new ways to get kids to understand where to sit for what purpose. 

This year we introduced “Know Your Library Zones” at all the grade-wide orientations at the start of the year. We also put two posters in the library.

The first semester after the orientations, I could walk up to people chatting in the silent areas and they would say “know your zone!” and move away. Now in February, it might be time to remind the students about the zones, but for the most part I think it helped a bit. Students are signing up for the rooms and seem to be thinking more about where to go when they enter the library, depending on their activity. We are still a loud and active library for the most part, but even small improvements help so that there are some quiet spaces. I will remind them of the zones pretty soon at an assembly.

How do you help your students know where to sit for the different types of work they do in your library? Or does it matter?

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