September 15, 2008 | Written by: Benjamin Markham

The Right Kind of Quiet

Increasingly, library designers are creating large open spaces where patrons can interact, study, or simply relax. When many library functions share one open locale, the environment can become distracting because of conversations among patrons, noise from photocopiers, and even the “beeping” scanners at the checkout desk. For a library to be successful, acoustic comfort in these open plans should follow three simple guidelines: add appropriate background noise levels, provide physical separation between known noise sources and noise-sensitive areas, and distribute sufficient sound-absorbing material in the space.

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