Memorial Library officials hope a new policy will succeed where annoyed glances and subtle reminders of "shut the hell up" have failed: getting cell phones out of silent study areas.
With finals week fast approaching, Memorial Library officials have enacted a new policy restricting cell phone use solely to the west corridor on the library's first floor.
According to Memorial Library Director Lee Konrad, the policy comes in response to the results of a library survey which revealed of those polled, more than 90 percent agreed people talking on cell phones should "move to another location in the library."
In the same survey of 225 library patrons, 75 percent of those polled agreed there should be a designated area for cell phone use.
"It's been a growing problem," Konrad said of cell phone use in the library's quiet areas, adding Memorial Library has received "dozens of complaints" about it in the past.
"At the end of last semester's finals, it really got kind of crazy," Konrad said. "So, we did a survey after that, asking patrons, 'what would you like to see happen?' And it was a clear consensus to designate a place for cell phone use."
But the measure is simply hoping to encourage students to move to a designated area when talking on a cell phone, as Konrad said violators of the policy will not face any consequences beyond a "gentle reminder" to keep conversations quiet.
"It's not like we would kick people out for violating it," Konrad said.
Konrad emphasized that staff would not be "wandering around" Memorial Library policing students.
Instead, when the staff receives complaints or sees some one on a cell phone outside of the designated area, they will remind the cell phone user to stay quiet.
"A lot of people aren't aware that they're creating a problem," Konrad said. "This way, it's a little less arbitrary."
Signs informing students of the new policy will also be posted in areas where cell phones are used heavily.
The policy will remain in place indefinitely, Konrad added, saying Memorial Library staff will "see how it goes" through finals week and make necessary changes afterwards.
Konrad said he is "hopeful" students will support the new policy, since it was enacted in response to their complaints.
However, judging by students' response, Konrad should not have to worry about garnering student support.
"This is the best idea they've ever had," University of Wisconsin junior Brad Kasavana said. "The purpose of the library is to have a place where all students have an equal opportunity to get work done, and a few kids talking on a cell phone ruins it for every one."