Library Quiet Policy


Historically, reading and research have been viewed as solitary activities. Libraries restricted noise to protect the concentration of those using the library for these purposes. This is still true, and we affirm the principle that libraries need especially quiet, comfortable, well-lit places for reading, writing, and contemplation.

The libraries at Kenyon have more roles, however.  Classes are taught, meetings are held, and students consult with reference librarians and technology specialists.  Students and faculty meet and socialize.  Students work in groups on academic and co-curricular projects.  These activities, while not necessarily noisy, are not absolutely quiet.

To accommodate the needs for both individual and collaborative study, different zones have been designated for the library. Different parts of the library are assigned to one of the zones. These designations help library users with expectations about noise levels where they are, so their experience can be useful and pleasant.


Cell phones are permitted in the library, but we recommend you set cell phones to vibrate!

These rules assume that students, staff, and faculty will take responsibility for abiding by the quiet policy.  The library staff may speak to you about these policies, not to be the "noise police," but to remind you of our shared responsibility to each other. Students and faculty do have the right to remind library staff of the policy as well!

Quiet Zones*

  • Olin and Chalmers 1st floor
  • Olin and Chalmers 2nd floor
  • Olin and Chalmers 3rd floor 
  1. Ordinary conversations can take place, but long and animated personal conversations should move to the atrium or outside.  Because service desks such as Circulation, Helpline, and Reference are in these locations, library users should expect that there will almost always be conversations taking place in this zone.
  2. Group conversations at tables can continue in low tones.
  3. Short cell phone conversations can take place, but if the conversation is extended it should move to the atrium or outside the buildings. In this zone, you can answer your cell phone, just as you can greet a friend, but longer or louder conversations should move elsewhere.

Silent Zones*

  • Parts of Olin 3rd floor around the outside window walls.
  • Parts of Olin 2nd floor around the outside window walls.
  • Chalmers  3rd floor Periodical Reading Room.
  1. Short conversations in low tones are permitted, but longer conversations should be moved elsewhere.  All library patrons should pay special attention to those around them and avoid anything other than a short disturbance.
  2. Cell phone conversations must move elsewhere immediately!

Active Zones

    1. Louder conversations are permitted in the following locations, but the doors should be closed:

  • Parnassus Room (the Classics classroom), on the 3rd floor of Olin
  • Writing Center, on the 1st floor of Olin 
  • Ringwalt Meeting Room, on the 2nd floor of Chalmers
  • Group Study rooms, like the glass rooms on the 3rd floor of Chalmers and all tower rooms
  • Language Learning Center, on the 1st floor of Chalmers [during a class]
  • Chalmers Computer Lab, on the 1st floor of Chalmers [during a class] 
  • LBIS staff offices
  • Multi Media viewing room.
  • All the service points; Research, Helpline and Circulation

    2. Louder conversations are permitted in the Olin atrium.

    3. Special events do occur in the Olin Artium and Lobby (Olin 1st floor) and the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives reading room (Olin 1st floor). In those cases, the quiet rules of the library are relaxed. 

* We cannot guarantee perfect silence in the "Silent" zone, or constant quiet in the "Quiet" zone. Employees may need to talk to each other in these spaces for business reasons, sound may bleed through walls from adjacent "Active" areas, and people (like you!) using this space will generate some gentle noises (keyboard clicks, pages turning, an occasional cough, etc.). Please be patient with these minor interruptions.