By Lexie Murphy
Whenever I am trying to find a good place to study, I generally look for a space that will offer three things: comfortable seating, a vibrant environment, and most importantly, somewhere that is pretty quiet. This can be pretty hard to find going to the University of Waterloo that educates approximately 35,000 students both undergraduate and graduate, and most of whom reside within the city all attempting to find a good place to study that is outside their home. You will either find a place that provides comfort and vibrancy, but is loud; provides silence and comfort but you get bored easily due to the dull atmosphere; or a place that provides silence and vibrancy but is not comfy and you end up leaving because you are sore. There never seems to be a place that provides all three needs forcing you to pick what aspect of a study space you need most.
All of us have a different study habits and appreciate different environments while we study; there is no one ‘perfect’ study space that is going to appeal to everyone. A blog entitled PsychCentral stated, “A lot of people make the mistake of studying in a place that really isn’t conducive to concentrating… a place with a lot of distractions makes for a poor study area” (Grohol, 2018). They go on to say that a library has a variety of different environments that cater to an assortment of study habits in hopes students will find an area that best suits them. With this need for quiet spaces in mind, the SJU Library has set aside its entire collection space as dedicated heads down study. The second floor mezzanine, in particular, will be a quiet study oasis.
The library has included in their acoustic treatments sound absorbent panels that will be located in certain areas of the library including their reading room and casual study area which includes bar tables and chairs. These panels will make the rooms they are located in silent study spaces on their own, or function as a barrier for noise in consideration of the surrounding study areas. These new acoustic treatments that are full underway in the library renovation project will restrict the travelling of noise in order for students to find somewhere in the new library space that will adhere to their study habits.
By adding these sound absorbent panels into the library, St. Jerome’s is allowing you to remove all distractions from your study space which will foster a deeper learning within your studies. In a study conducted by Joseph Moran in 2013, he and his team discovered that in silence, not being distracted by noise, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things allowing your brain to take everything in. Silence also allows for deeper and wider thinking because the lack of noise allows the brain to replenish itself and restore its cognitive resources. Taking this concept into consideration, the St. Jerome’s library has included designated areas for silent, independent study that will give students the opportunity to reach the highest levels of success in their studying routines. The St. Jerome’s Library is sure that these acoustic treatments will allow students to study in a stress-free environment that will be calming, yet encouraging which will make students WANT to study rather than FORCE them to.
Come see what exactly I am talking about when the Library renovation is completed this coming winter 2020 term!