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Libraries in the 21st century: adapting to a changing landscape

How your public library can meet noise regulations

In the 21st century, libraries serve many purposes – they are no longer simply places from which to borrow books. In fact, today’s libraries can have many main uses, including:

Providing access to information

Obviously libraries provide various information resources, including books, journals, magazines, newspapers, databases, and e-books. In addition, libraries may offer internet access, which is particularly important for people who do not have access to the internet at home.

Offering a place for study and research

Libraries are still popular places for students and researchers to study and work on assignments. They offer quiet areas, study rooms, and access to research materials to support study and research activities.

Hosting community programs and events

Libraries often host various community programs and events, including book clubs, author talks, children’s storytime, and workshops. These programs and events help to promote literacy, cultural engagement, and community connection.

Offering digital services

Many libraries now offer digital services, such as e-books, digital audiobooks, and online databases. These services allow library users to access materials from home or on the go, making the library more accessible and convenient.

Providing cultural and heritage preservation

Libraries play an important role in preserving cultural and heritage materials, such as rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and archives. These materials provide valuable insights into our history and culture and can be used for research and education.

The impact of excessive noise on libraries

One common thread across all these uses is that libraries are typically quiet spaces where people go to read, study, and work. Too much noise in a library can cause disruption and make it difficult for people to concentrate. The potential consequences of excessive noise in a library include:

Distraction: Excessive noise can distract people trying to read, study, or work in a library, reducing their ability to concentrate and focus.

Disruption: Loud noises such as talking, laughing, or cell phone ringing can disrupt others around the person making the noise, causing frustration and annoyance.

Complaints: If library users feel that noise levels are too high, they may complain to library staff or security, creating tension and conflict.

Reduced productivity: More noise can affect the productivity of people working in a library, leading to lower quality work or longer completion times.

Breach of library rules: Libraries usually have rules in place that require users to be quiet and respectful of others, and excessive noise can be a breach of these rules.

Health and safety issues: Perhaps most seriously, prolonged exposure to loud noise can lead to physical health problems such as headaches, fatigue, and stress.

What noise regulations apply to Australian libraries?

Libraries across Australia are subject to specific noise regulations, which vary depending on the state or territory, the local council, or library policy. Here are some examples of noise regulations for libraries in different states:

The Library Council of New South Wales recommends that libraries maintain a quiet atmosphere, and staff should take action to control noise levels. Libraries are also subject to the Environmental Protection Authority’s noise guidelines for community noise.

The Public Libraries Victoria Network recommends that libraries maintain a quiet environment for reading, studying, and research. Library staff should monitor noise levels and intervene if necessary.

The Queensland Government’s Public Library Standards state that libraries should maintain a “quiet and conducive” environment for reading and study. Libraries are also subject to local council noise regulations.

The Western Australian Government’s Guidelines for Public Library Buildings recommend that libraries provide quiet areas for study and reading. Library staff should monitor noise levels and intervene if necessary.

Talk to Avenue about soundproofing solutions for libraries

As a national company specialising in noise control solutions for public spaces – including libraries – Avenue Interior Systems can create custom solutions for your library. Our expert team understand and can work with most states’ regulations.

Contact the Avenue Interior Systems team today on 1300 827 177.