A student navigating the stacks of the sixth or seventh floor of Alden Library is likely to hear the pages of a textbook turn from multiple aisles over. On the other hand, the buzz of people working on group projects on the second floor makes conversation from a few feet away from a friend nearly impossible.
Some students prefer some floors to others depending on their mood and urgency to get work done. They become so familiar with the different Alden floors, they are sometimes able to personify their go-to study spots.
The variation in noise level from floor to floor is something fairly new to libraries. Libraries were almost always a destination for studious individuals looking for complete silence, Macie Penrod, a library support associate at Alden, said.
“They would have floors with, you know, different boxes or cubes with typewriters in them to do your work like that — but there weren’t really big group study areas like there are now,” Penrod said.
After the dawn of the internet, however, the role of libraries on campuses began to change dramatically said Courtney Brown, a library support specialist at Alden. Personal technology replacing stationery typewriters meant there was a growing necessity for the tolerance of noisy areas, so students could move with their laptop around the library freely and talk with friends while doing work.
“It’s not just a place you can go to get your materials,” Penrod said. “The libraries now kind of have to appeal to students who are used to looking at things online … How do you provide a space that people can still come and do research becomes the big question.”
Many library employees, such as those working at Alden, found the best way to cater to student’s transforming methods of studying is to have a range of environments throughout the floors, which fluctuate in noise levels and layouts. The change now meant a group of friends working on a project together could chat amongst themselves on one of the noise friendly floors while avoiding some annoyed glances they might have received from library patrons before.
Some students are so familiar with the different atmospheres Alden has to offer, they are able to describe the personality each floor encompasses.
Andrew Garnica, a junior studying sports management, said the first floor is the loyal friend that will always have an open spot for you to study — most likely a sorority girl named Sophie.
“I would say (the second floor) would be the friend that, like, goes and talks to everybody all the time ... a girl and she needs a social name, Ashley. She’s bubbly. Maybe she knows how to balance school and social time. She’s the first person you see at a party,” Madison Wickham, a sophomore studying journalism, said.
Brianna Ash, a junior studying exercise physiology, said the third floor is the laid back friend that doesn’t want to be around a lot of people and is an introverted friend.
“This would be the person that doesn’t really want to go out … I would say it’s a girl and her name would be Penelope,” Ash said.
Rachel Addlespurger, a junior studying communication studies, said that the fourth floor of the Alden Library would be the cool, stylish friend that really puts itself out there.“It would be a boy and his name would be Blake,” Addlespurger said.
“(The fifth floor) would be probably the more quiet one that’s kind of reserved and isn’t that outgoing, but is more outgoing just in a smaller group I guess,” Samantha Selhorst, a sophomore studying neuroscience, said.
The fifth floor would be an artistic girl named Lydia, Selhorst said.
Emily Witter, a junior studying environmental biology, described the sixth floor as a shy, quiet boy named Phil — definitely an engineer who’s into collecting, “something.”
Garrett Dildine, a sophomore studying civil engineering, said the seventh floor can be confusing, leading him to the conclusion that the seventh floor is “definitely” a girl named Madison.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Rachel Addlespurger's name. The article has been updated to show the most accurate information.