Even though I know that sometimes libraries are supposed to be quiet, for the most part, remaining quiet hinders both learning and access. Who is going to ask questions is they are being silenced? Answer? No one.
So sometimes I think that the Nancy Pearl Action Figure is responsible for the shushing that I see. I’ve seen the doll referred to as the reason to be quiet, as in if someone in the library is being loud, they point to the doll and say, "Shhh!"
I just wanted to point out that Nancy Pearl herself does not think that Shushing is acceptable, and thought everyone would take it like a joke! In an article from The Seattle Times she is quoted:
"Pearl predicts that the shushing motion — triggered by a button on the
doll’s back — will determine ‘which librarians have a sense of humor.’
She likes to believe that today’s librarians are secure enough in their
work that they won’t take offense at the old cliché."
If it is an old cliche, but we still shush people at our libraries, are we doing it as a joke, or do we really mean it? And even if we’re shushing people as a joke, do the customers think that? The customers do not want to be shushed, so maybe we should all stop our shushing?