If you’ve ever been to a library, you know that silence is required.
But why do you need to be quiet in a library?
Besides the fact that silence is necessary for concentration and focus, there are other reasons and standards why.
Let’s take a look at them.
1) Focus & Concentration
The first and most obvious reason you must be quiet in a library is that people need silence to concentrate.
They might be engaged in different activities like studying, reading a book, or working on a project — That’s all there is, really.
Just as you probably don’t appreciate being interrupted or disturbed while focused on an important task, neither do the people around you at a public library.
Many people head to the library to work because they can’t properly focus at home.
If you make noise and distract them, it’s pointless for them to make an effort to find a quiet spot in the city.
Though books absorb part of the noise, even whispers can be painfully acknowledged in a space where everyone else is trying to be silent.
White noise like turning pages or pens writing on paper is okay, though words are not.
2) Social Expectations
People head to the library because they know it’s a quiet place.
They expect you to stay silent and work peacefully, and thus you must deliver.
Social expectations are everywhere.
You don’t wear a white dress to a wedding, and you don’t laugh at a funeral.
These are conditions and behaviors we’ve accepted as truthful in society.
Rousseau talked about the social contract, and while he might not (definitely he didn’t) have referred to libraries, I’m here to use his social contract as an example.
You offer others what you expect to receive from them.
You don’t steal because you don’t want to be a theft victim.
You’re silent in a library because you expect others to be silent too.
It’s that easy.
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3) The World’s Last Silent Retreat
Besides fields and nature, libraries are the last peaceful retreat you can find in a city.
There’s noise everywhere you go, from cafés to public transportation.
That’s why some people head to libraries when they need silence.
Libraries are Heaven to many introverts.
Introverts need significantly more alone and quiet time.
While you’re not alone in a public library, you definitely experience less noise and movement than in other public spaces.
Living in such a fast-paced and noisy world, it’s imperative that we preserve and encourage calm places like libraries.
And that begins by keeping quiet!
Benefits of Silence
Last but not least, here are the top benefits silence has.
We tend to forget that quietness and peace can be good for us.
According to Healthline, these are the most remarkable silence benefits:
a) Lower blood pressure
Research suggests that silence may lower our blood pressure.
We already experience stress in our everyday lives, so anything that prevents high blood pressure is a victory.
b) Better focus
As mentioned in the first paragraphs, silence improves concentration.
It’s the main reason why you must stay quiet in a library.
c) Brain growth
While more research is needed, it seems that silence stimulates brain growth.
2 hours of silence stimulated new cell growth in the hippocampus in mice.
The same might or might not be true for humans, but it’s an interesting theory!
d) Lower cortisol levels
Again, cortisol level is the stress hormone.
The more stress you experience, the higher cortisol levels your body has.
Engaging in silence might reduce these levels and make you healthier.
e) More creativity
If you’re artistic, you need silence to boost creativity.
While good ideas and inspiration often come from music, shows, videos, and other audiovisual content, silence and engaging with your thoughts still remain the number one source of creativity.
Of course, there are more benefits to silence, but these are enough to understand why places like libraries require it.
The Bottom Line
Libraries are the ultimate peaceful retreat to be found in cities.
Silence is the main attraction they have, besides offering free books, an Internet connection, and other events.
By preserving the peaceful nature of libraries we nurture our creativity, relaxation, and concentration levels.
We stay quiet because we expect others to be quiet too, allowing us to engage in productive or creative tasks.