Noise in library and tutoring center during tutorials defeats purpose of facilities

March 15, 2018 — by Connie Liang

Despite its purpose of being a quiet place for students to study and work, the library is often filled with distractions during tutorial. 

Like a lot of students, I procrastinate. Unfortunately. And oftentimes, tutorials are the most highly prized 30 minutes any school day can grant.

So when I walk into the library or tutoring center, hoping to finish my work on time and avoid the disappointed head shaking of my teacher next period, I expect a quiet environment in which I can focus on and finish the task at hand. After all, being the library and tutoring center, the two facilities are there precisely to provide students with an environment in which they can study.

But walk into these two places on any given day and you’re sure to find a rowdy crowd of students rivalling that of a group of monkeys discovering a new-found banana plantation. It sounds ridiculous, but so does the piercing cacophony of obnoxious chatter and laughter filling the one place I was hoping to settle down and focus.

Usually, I find myself annoyedly putting on earbuds and blasting my classical piano Spotify playlist in hopes of drowning out the overwhelming noise. But even then, their voices and laughter still manage to find a way through the Chopin symphony playing at the highest possible volume.

Chopin isn’t even meant to be played so loudly.

And it’s not like a noisy library or tutoring center is some rare occasion. Every single time I enter one of these two places, I’m greeted with this same constant noise that only ends when I walk out, deciding to settle for a quieter classroom instead.

During a recent tutorial, using my trusty decibel measurement app dB Meter, I recorded a peak of 88 decibels in the library.

According to,  a “propeller plane flyover at 1,000 feet” also comes in around 88 decibels. The same website states that a “quiet, suburb, conversation at home” is around 50 decibels. The last time I checked, Saratoga was a suburb; and the library, with its frequent visitors, might as well be considered a home for many students.

Here’s what librarian Kevin Heyman had to say about the issue: “We don’t have any set rules about how noisy students are in the library. I do talk to some students who seem to be getting a bit too loud and ask them to lower their voices.”

These efforts might help some students, but they haven’t helped me. Try as I might, it is impossible for me to concentrate in some of the few places on campus that provide resources such as textbooks and computers all in one setting. It’s unfair for those who are genuinely attempting to finish homework to be so distracted by others who have no reason to be in the library or tutoring center in the first place.

That isn’t to say students who talk or laugh with the slightest raise of volume should automatically be thrown out. Nor is it to say students finding an escape from the heat or meeting with their group members should be silenced. It’s just that when unnecessary and over-the-top chatter gets in the way of people who are trying to study, there is a problem.

If your sole reason for being in the library is to laugh at profane Urban Dictionary definitions or even to blast rap music and rap along with your friends (two scenarios I have both witnessed), please go outside and give others the chance to concentrate.

In any case, be mindful of those who are around you, especially if it looks like they are trying to get some work done. If you are receiving curt glances from the girl with the earbuds in, it’s time to lower your volume or simply head on outside.

Because that person is probably me.

And I probably have a chemistry packet to finish.