What should the library sound like?

Silence has always been tied to the very nature of the library. We’re all familiar with the image of the shushing librarian, urging us to lower our voices. For centuries libraries have been places for quiet reading, studying and concentration. The architecture of library buildings was primarily based on these functions, so a considerable amount of attention was paid to acoustic measures. Nowadays the library has zones that promote different uses. Some are quiet study zones, some promote social interaction and others provide opportunity to engage in creative activity.
It means we must think anew about sound in the library, not as something to be eliminated, but as something to be welcomed, designed and orchestrated …... something that makes a valuable contribution to the library experience.
There’s many questions to investigate. How does sound contribute to the atmosphere of the building? How does it influence people’s moods. Is sound signage a possibility? Will a carefully designed soundscape actually help people to make better use of the library - how could 21
st century libraries sound?



Sound of Design (Pinakothek der Moderne, München)

Die Töne von Designobjekten sind oft so charakteristisch wie ihre Gestalt. Ab 21. Februar 2019 stehen den Besucherinnen und Besuchern daher die Geräusche verschiedener Ausstellungsstücke unserer Sammlung in der Web-App Sound of Design zur Verfügung. Auf mobilen Endgeräten und zuhause am PC können Sie nun in die Welt der Designgeräusche eintauchen. Die Bandbreite reicht von historischen Telefonapparaten, über Motorengeräusche ikonischer Automobile bis zum Klacken einer Tastatur. More

British Library Reading Room


Meri Kytö: Listening to libraries: How to and why design the library soundscape

This live streaming video includes a presentation by Meri Kytö, Dr., Postdoctoral researcher in Music Studies, University of Tampere, Finland "Listening to libraries: How to and why design the library soundscape".

A soundscape approach to exploring design strategies for acoustic comfort in modern public libraries: a case study of the Library of Birmingham.

Taking the soundscape approach to a study of the Library of Birmingham, this paper explored acoustic comfort in modern public libraries and measured the quality of the perceived sound environment, focusing on the appropriateness of the spatial organisation to facili- tate users’ activities of reading and writing. The research involved four groups of participants taking soundwalks which provided data at four main floors in the Library, identifying types of sounds, measuring sound pressure levels and evaluating the overall quality and appropriate-ness of perceived sound environment. More

In pursuit of Silence

From the monastic traditions of the world's religions to the universal "moment of silence" as an act of mourning, humanity has had a long fascination with silence. Today when one in three Americans suffers from some degree of hearing impairment, this relationship with silence, which once served as the key to our evolutionary sustainability, is challenged more than ever as the world continues to grow noisier. IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE is a feature documentary exploring the value of silence, our relationship with sound, and the implications of living in such a noisy world.

The sound of BMW

A BMW has a unique sound and we're not only talking about the engine, but about every button, every door and many other things that make a sound. A group of specialists at BMW focus on this. Have a look at their work and you'll surely remember this, the next time you're in a BMW.


Reading music


Cascada: everytime we touch