During the 2009/2010 Academic Session, we received a fair number of comments aka complaints on the amount of noise generated by our users within our Reading Halls. By then we were well aware that different pockets of users use the Library for different reasons – some require total silence whilst others need to hold open discussions. Thus, we had to find a quick and viable solution to the problem since revision and examination weeks were just around the corner.
After much deliberation and brainstorming, we decided to partition the Library by how much noise is allowed within a certain area and we decided that since it is costly to physically partition areas, we decided to establish colour-coded zones. Three zones were established:-
- Red Zone: Total Silence – No discussion, no chatting, no hand phone, no laptop
- Blue Zone: Quiet Area – Please refrain from being noisy and respect your colleagues’ need for silence
- Green Zone: You may discuss with your colleagues here but please do so at an acceptable and tolerable level
Once we had identified the areas within our Reading Halls, standing banners were strategically located in these areas. During its teething weeks, we assigned a number of librarians to monitor the noise level within the designated zones and to advise our users accordingly. The colour-coded zones are still in use till today.
A quick search via the Internet and we managed to come out with examples from other areas:-
- Marvin Library Learning Commons of Hudson Valley Community College, USA -(https://www.hvcc.edu/learning-commons/marvin-color-zones.pdf) – uses three colours – Red for Silent Study, Yellow for Quiet Study and Green for Group Work.
- University of Newcastle Library, Australia (http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/library/our-libraries/facilities/library-zones.html) – Red for Silent Zone, Yellow for Quiet Zone, and Green for Group Study Zone
- University of Toronto Library, Canada (http://library.utm.utoronto.ca/about/zones) – uses four colours for their Library Learning Zones – Red for Silent Study Zone, Yellow for Quiet Collaborative Study Zone, Green for Conversation-friendly Zone and Blue for Cell-phone Friendly Zone.
Dr Nor Edzan Che Nasir
3 January 2013