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Noise Policy

Part of the Library’s mission is to “create a learning environment that enhances the search for knowledge and understanding.” Such an environment must not only accommodate multiple learning styles (e.g., quiet spaces for some, collaborative work spaces for others) but also facilitate other functions of the Library.

To that end, we have identified acceptable noise levels for each type of environment or activity, and taking into account the architecture of the Library, assigned each floor, or section of floor, to one of the following three categories:

Instructional/Social Areas:  Intended for instructional or social purposes. Usually busy. Normal conversation is permitted.

Collaborative Learning Areas:  Intended for mixed use, including both studying and collaborative learning:   Muted (i.e., very quiet) conversation is permitted in open areas.  Low level (i.e., “inside voice”) conversation is permitted only in closed areas (i.e., Group Study Rooms).

Quiet Study Areas:  Intended to serve as quiet areas for library users who need to concentrate. Open areas are silent.


Designations by Floor

First FloorThe Reference Room, Group Study Rooms, and the entire Extended Study Area are Collaborative Learning Areas.

The Café, lobby entrances, Access Services Desk, and Reference Desk are Instructional/Social Areas.  There might be occasional noise emanating from these areas.

Second Floor – The entire floor is a Collaborative Learning Area, including Group Study Rooms.  There might be occasional noise rising from the First Floor lobby into the Second Floor’s central reading areas.

Third Floor – The central reading area, and Group Study Rooms are Collaborative Learning Areas. The rest of the floor is a Quiet Study Area.

Fourth Floor – The entire floor is a Quiet Study Area.  There might be occasional noise rising from the Third Floor central reading area into the Fourth Floor’s central reading areas.  Only Group Study Rooms are Collaborative Learning Areas.

Lower Level – Library Instruction Labs and the Lower Lobby are Instructional/Social when classes or events are scheduled in them, and Quiet Study otherwise.  Instructional Technology Services is an Instructional/Social Area at all times.


Noise Considerations Summary

  1. Group Study Rooms are not soundproof. Keep voices down to a low (i.e., “inside voice”) conversation level.
  2. Noise is to be expected at library service points (Access Services Desk and Reference Desk).
  3. Noise is to be expected during library tours or other special events.
  4. Noise is expected in the Café, especially during “meal equivalent” periods.
  5. Cell phone conversation is not permitted in Quiet Study Areas. There are no restrictions for using the phone in silent mode.  Please silence your phone before entering the library.
  6. Audio may be listened to with head phones, as long as it is inaudible to others.



  • The Library expects all members of its user community to comply with its stated policies.
  • Should individuals or groups become disruptive, the Library encourages users to take initial action by asking the offending individuals or group to quiet down.
  • Alternatively, or if their own request proves ineffective, users may contact Access Services with any noise complaints.
  • During Reference Hours, Library users may also register a compliant via “Ask A Librarian” by texting to (609) 482-3981. The complaint will be forwarded to Access Services who will follow up accordingly.


Library Policy Enforcement

In addition to responding to specific complaints as described above, Access Services staff will make periodic sweeps of the Library.

  1. A library staff member will first approach disruptive individuals or groups and ask them to lower their voices and stop their disruptive behavior. The disruptive individuals or groups will receive a friendly reminder to follow the Library Noise Policy.
  1. If a library staff member needs to approach the individuals or groups a second time, he/she will give them a copy of the Library Noise Policy and inform them that they will be asked to leave if they continue their distributive behavior.
  1. Disruptive individuals or groups who do not correct their behavior after the first two warnings will be asked to leave.

Noncompliance: In the case of students who fail to comply with directives of Library employees, a report will be made to the Director of Student Conduct who is responsible for enforcing the Student Conduct Code.


R. Barbara Gitenstein Library
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628


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