Soundscapes in Public Libraries: A Case Study
Authors: Woo, Jin; Rajagopalan, Priyadarsini
This study investigates the acoustic conditions of reading spaces in a public library in Melbourne.
An acoustics performance survey for library users was developed to evaluate library use, sound
environment and noise, and a face‐to‐face survey was conducted in the library. The library users described
their sound environment as ‘pleasant’, ‘appropriate’ and ‘calm’. The respondents of two reading rooms
expressed a high level of satisfaction with sound environment and a neutral perception of noise, neither
noisy nor quiet. Three main sources of noise, namely, ‘footsteps’, ‘people’ and ‘chair dragging’ were also
found in the reading spaces. Interestingly, it was found that noise from lift, windows and doors opening,
traffic and construction noise and noise from birds outside the building, resulted in the difference
between user perceptions of noise between two reading rooms. It could be interpreted that this result
was related to the library space layout, building design and building services. It is recommended that the
link between architectural characteristics and space use pattern and acoustic performance be examined
in public library buildings.