Librarians hate to be depicted as bun- and glasses-wearing shushers, hellbent on silencing any and all noisy activities within their sacred domain. Fair enough: Librarians are highly skilled, well-educated and socially aware as a rule, and should not be reduced to a cultural stereotype ranking only a notch or two above a church lady on the hipness scale.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot to be said for that shushing. I’ve long believed that one of the most precious resources libraries offer their patrons is simple quiet. Alas, for too long I’ve been forced to confine this sentiment to bar-stool rants because for all I knew I was being hopelessly retrograde. Libraries are constantly talking up the new — and often clamorous — services and activities they have added or plan to add in order to “better serve a diverse community” (and by extension, justify their continued funding in the eyes of public officials who like to appear forward-thinking). But take heart, seekers of serenity, for now we have data!