The Library: A Social Network Fad or a Major Nuisance?

I am sitting in a library right now. I wish I could say that it was quiet here, as most libraries are required to be. It isn’t though. In fact, I am sitting here right now while a pretty blonde is dumping her emotional baggage to some guy whom she probably considers more a friend than an ideal boyfriend. You can almost tell he is trying to listen to her as she spouts the word “like” 100 times in a sentence. In my personal opinion, she doesn’t have a clue that he likes her.

In a place where one might only consider the books to talk, there are voices scattered through out the wings. In quiet and sometimes not so quiet whispers, many individuals use this sacred space almost as a place of counseling. Girls seek advice from other girls about a guy. A group of people discusses how hard a teacher is and how unfair his expectations are for a project. Even as I sit here, there are sounds of laughter coming from another group of kids who have decided to take a break from reading a book to watch a YouTube video with the sound at half volume. For someone who has a lot of work to do, this atmosphere would not be conducive for his or her regime of study.

I guess in some ways, I should be upset. I am, after all, attempting to work on an important paper for a class. Instead, I am enthralled with what I am experiencing.

As I sit here, I wonder how many opportunities college-age students get to experience community with one another. I wonder how often trips to the library end up being a place of social events. I wonder why the library – a place to study – has, in some ways, become a place of active chatter.

Is the school system really failing at providing opportunities for college-age students to interact with one another? Are there no opportunities for these conversations to exist?

I am just wondering. Perhaps those who are here, talking away as if they are at a carnival or something, don’t even realize what they are doing. Perhaps they don’t really care. Whatever the case, I have found that coming to the library, especially on a college campus, is not only for the means of studying but has found its way into the social network. For better or for worse – no matter how many “PLEASE BE QUIET!” signs are put up and displayed – conversations will continue to exist here. And, for me, I need to remember to bring a set of headphones. So it goes…