Singapore’s Noisy Public Libraries – is it too late?

Singapore’s public libraries, though well-equipped and modern, are a disgrace.

Tolerance on the part of the National Library Board (NLB) over the years despite numerous complaints in the papers has resulted in our public libraries becoming study centres, meeting points, discussion venues for school projects, cozy places to watch DVDs or play hide-and-seek, a refuge for students playing truant and for toddlers to practise their fledgling motor skills.

Some may retort with Other libraries elsewhere are also the same so what’s the problem?

Believe me I do visit libraries in other countries. Last month I dropped in at a library in Sarawak. I spent the whole afternoon there. There were no noisy appeals for library users to behave themselves. Children did not run about. Nobody talked as though they owned the library. In short, library users there knew the meaning of library etiquette unlike in Singapore.

A culture of noisy conduct in Singapore’s public libraries has become entrenched.

Is it too late to reverse the trend? I should think so unless NLB starts to adopt zero tolerance towards misuse of our public libraries.

Or when an MP raises the issue in Parliament.

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3 Responses to “Singapore’s Noisy Public Libraries – is it too late?”

  1. Noise Pollution generally refers to unwanted sound produced by human activities—unwanted in that it interferes with communication, work, rest, recreation, or sleep. Unlike other forms of pollution, such as air, water, and hazardous materials, noise does not remain long in the environment. However, its effects are immediate in terms of annoyance.

    Federal laws against noise pollution included the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, especially sections concerning environmental impact statements; the Noise Pollution and Abatement Act of 1970; and the Noise Control Act of 1972, which appointed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to coordinate federal research and activities in noise control.

    Many conflicts over noise pollution are handled by negotiation between the emitter and the receiver. Escalation procedures vary by country, and may include action in conjunction with local authorities, in particular the police. Noise pollution often persists because only five to ten percent of people affected by noise will lodge a formal complaint. Many people are not aware of their legal right to quiet and do not know how to register a complaint.

    In the United States, communities since colonial days have enacted ordinances against excessive noise, primarily in response to complaints from residents. It was not until the late 1960s, however, that the federal government officially recognized noise as a pollutant and began to support noise research and regulation.

    from: Answers.com under ‘noise pollution’.

    We must all get together to stop the nuisance. Isn’t it time?

  2. Thanks Andy for the info. I like the part which says there are laws against excessive noise.

  3. Definitely too late.


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