OWHL Responds to Requests for More Silent Study Space, Mutes Dole Room

The Dole Room in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) became a silent study space this Wednesday in order to address student complaints about limited seating in the Garver Room.

“We have always been committed to being able to provide the kind of study space that a student wants at any given time. So if you come into [the OWHL] looking to work in a silent space, then we want to be able to allow you to do so,” said Elisabeth Tully, Director of the OWHL.

“Also, this summer, we’ve increased a lot of collaborative space by removing stacks on the second floor and buying new furniture for both there and [the basement], so we felt that taking the Dole [Room] offline for collaborative study would not be a real problem for kids,” she continued.

The Dole Room’s adjacency to the Garver Room made it an ideal space to serve as an extended silent study area. “It is important so that one proctor could be [present] in both [rooms] to make sure that people are not talking,” Tully said.

There are signs posted on the doors entering the Dole Room that indicate the new silence policy. The librarians currently do not intend to make a formal announcement about the change.

“It’s an experiment. We are continuously fine-tuning what we do to meet student needs. We have a quick little survey in the works that we hope a lot of the student body will respond to, letting [the librarians] know what kind of study spaces they want… So if this new arrangement doesn’t seem to be working, then we can simply just change it back or try something else,” she said.

To further increase seating capacity in silent study areas, additional tables may be placed in the newly vacant area in the Garver Room that formerly held the Help Desk.

“We moved the Help Desk because we needed it up on the second floor. Because we added so much seating capacity [upstairs] and [because] it is a collaborative working space, we thought that it would be good to have supervision up there as well as help for students studying,” said Tully.

“We haven’t really made hard and fast decisions on what to do with that space in [the Garver Room] because we would really like to hear from students,” she continued.