To shush or not to shush. That is the question.

We all know the stereotype.  When I say the word “librarian” everyone sees the bun wearing, shushing, stern woman.  Jocasta Nu, the Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archives, has a bun. jocasta There is even a Librarian Action Figure with Amazing Shushing Action.  So, if that is the stereotype, what happened to all the quiet in the library?

About 10 years ago libraries began to change, not just in Boone County but around the country.  There is no one thing people want their libraries to be. They want their libraries to be lots of things, a place where they can study and meet with friends and attend meetings — and more. And different customers want different things.

The Pew Research Center published a report called, “Library Services in the Digital Age.”  (You can access the whole report at  One of the questions asked, “What do you think is important for libraries to offer?”  The top three answers were:

1. Librarians to help people
2. Books to borrow
3. Free access to computers and books

These answers didn’t surprise libraries.  The answers that surprised them, were the fourth and fifth most popular responses.  About 75% of respondents said they want quiet study spaces available, but a similar percentage said they want programs and classes for children and teens.    One is a very quiet need and the other an unquiet service.  The question for libraries becomes how do we balance these two very different needs?

Some of BCPLs locations are better designed to meet these conflicting requests.  The Main Library and the Scheben Branch have smaller, independent study rooms.  The children’s and teens’ areas are a more reasonable distance from areas designated as quiet zones.  But older buildings, like Florence, Lents and Walton, do not always retrofit well to the changing needs of our library populations.  One of the solutions we offer at these older, smaller locations is the use of the meeting room as a quiet space.  If, at any time, you need a quiet place to study or read, please do not hesitate to ask at the desk.  If we do not have programs scheduled these locations will open the meeting room for you.

Matthew Battles, author of Library:  An Unquiet History, wrote, “In their long history, libraries have been models for the world and models of the world; they’ve offered stimulation and contemplation, opportunities for togetherness as well as a kind of civic solitude.  They’ve acted as gathering points for lively minds and as sites of seclusion and solace.  For making knowledge and sharing change, we still need such places…”

We know that quiet spaces are still an important part of what people expect from their libraries.  Just as we know that people want libraries to be bustling centers of classes and workshops.  Libraries in Boone County and across the nation are working to meet these two very different needs. We’d love to hear from you; what do you want your library to be? Quiet and sedate? Or busy and loud?

nancyThis Librarian Action Figure was modeled after librarian, Nancy Pearl, former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book.



Carrie Herrmann has 26 years of experience in libraries, most of those in Northern Kentucky. A Graduate of University of Kentucky, Carrie is the Library Director for Boone County Public Library.






Farewell, PAWS to Read!

For five and a half years PAWS to Read has partnered with Boone County Public Library to provide opportunities for children and families to read to a licensed therapy dog. Consisting of 12 licensed therapy dogs from a variety of breeds, the PAWS to Read group has devoted over 300 hours of service to this library program.

In that time, over 4,000 library customers have enjoyed spending time with the PAWS to Read dogs, who have earned the thanks and gratitude of many loyal fans. The PAWS to Read dogs are:

  • Squirt
  • Patrick
  • Brodie
  • Bailey
  • Jack
  • Wilma
  • Toby
  • Cleo
  • Shelby
  • Derby
  • Daisy
  • Doc

Tim and Shelley Rose are the enthusiastic creators and coordinators of the PAWS to Read group and reading program. They organize the group, maintain the schedule, and ensure that at least 4 dogs visit the library for every PAWS to Read session.  Tim and Shelley are the heart and soul of the group and have devoted countless hours to providing a joyous reading opportunity at the library for children and families.

paws to read dogSince 2008, from one to four days per month, the PAWS to Read dogs have visited various Boone County Public Library locations.  During a typical two-hour session, 35 – 40 children visit to read to their favorite dog for about 15 minutes.  When the children arrive at a PAWS to Read session, they eagerly grab books, snuggle down in chairs or on the floor, and escape into the joy of reading to their favorite canine friends.  Many children have developed special relationships with particular dogs and their owners and visit the library for many sessions to spend time with their very special friends.

Sadly, time does pass and we all grow a little older. Our PAWS to Read friends are no exception.  After more than five years and over 300 hours of faithful service, the dogs are ready to slow down.  On Saturday, November 15, 2014, our PAWS to Read friends will make their final appearance at the library.  To honor their years of service and dedication, the library would like to invite PAWS to Read fans to stop by the Main Library and say goodbye.  Most of the dogs will be present and would love to see their library friends.  Thanks to a generous donation by a PAWS to Read fan, honorary service plaques will be presented to each dog, and refreshments will be provided.  Hours for the farewell celebration are 10:00-12:00.  Anyone wishing to schedule a 15-minute reading time may do so by calling the Main Library at 859-342-2665.  We hope you can join us in bidding our PAWS to Read friends a fond farewell.


Elaine Demoret has worked at Boone County Public Library for six years as a Youth Services Associate in the Children’s Department.  Her mission is to bring quality children’s programs and performers to the library from a variety of community resources.