Not many institutions care about the mental and physical wellbeing of their students as much as private colleges do in the township of Subang Jaya. After its recent 2017 campus revamp that introduced pit stops for sleep-deprived college students, INTAK Colleges Subang Jaya is unveiling a brand new concept space in their award-winning library.
Termed “loud spaces”, the library has designated a whopping 300 sq ft space for students to chat loudly, talk on the phone, and receive WhatsApp notifications at maximum volume. This remarkable innovation has reportedly increased satisfaction among students, who use the facility quite often to suit their needs.
Sarah, an Engineering student, says, “This facility really helps me focus on my studies because talking loudly in the library helps me and my groupmates concentrate on the task at hand while expressing our enthusiasm.”
Another student, Scott, remarks that: “Although there are people who like to keep quiet in the loud space, there’s always a librarian who comes by to look at them disapprovingly and they’ll start talking after awhile. What’s annoying is if they keep turning quiet once in a while and you just want to strangle them and shout, ‘for the love of God would you please make some noise? This is a library you know!’ Why can’t people take their quiet time outside? It’s the polite thing to do.”
Samantha, an art and design student, agrees completely. “When you’re in the library and studying your ass off for finals, you really just need those WhatsApp notifications to keep you going. When people silent their phones? I just go nuts. There’s no way I’m going to be able to study amidst all that quietness and void. I’m going to start hearing voices in my head.”
INTAK library’s “loud space” is currently equipped with shelves of noise-enhancing gadgets and equipment to keep students chattering and interacting. Airhorns, chalkboards, and fire alarm bells are placed strategically around the inside of the library to encourage users to pick them up. Bullhorns are also available on request at the distribution counter. Librarians can also assist you at any time by yelling, reciting poetry, or even performing team cheers to boost the morale of your brainstorm session with maximum volume and energy. The most important design element, however is in the details.
“Every door, every chair, and every toilet is engineered to produce as much sound as physically possible,” says, Ed Gernard, the brilliant interior designer behind this concept. We speak to him to discover his motivations and source of inspiration for this groundbreaking idea. “You see, where I grew up… There were no loud libraries. Everyone just keeps quiet and if you made noise you were shushed or kicked out. There was no place in the library to chatter loudly or laugh at your friend’s jokes. They give you a dirty look just for picking up a phone! I decided to change all that.”
And change he did. Mr Genard’s vision may well be that human beings everywhere will learn to do their studying and work in noisy and chaotic environments with no regard for other library patrons. “We’re planning to completely revolutionise education. Imagine how much you could get done just by having 30 other students yell at you in one ear. Now add a bullhorn. We’re changing the world here.”
Challenging possibilities and building a better library for us all. I personally enjoy writing to the tune of five blenders with glass shards inside, all running at the same time. What’s your ideal work noise like? Tell us in the comments below!