The Quiet/Not Quiet Troubles plague University libraries worldwide, I think. It is, at the very least, an intense problem locally, here at UNCC. It seems to me that there are legitimate work-based reasons why people want to be noisy (well, reasonably so) in the library. Think of: group work, studying in pairs. And there are time-honored and important reasons to need quiet in the library.
And so, we have group study rooms. Noise contained in a room, people outside the room are happy in their quiet. But, what about when those are full? What then?
Is the first floor really ever going to be a quiet space? Is it reasonable to expect it to be? Should we continue to spit in the wind, putting furniture on the first floor, high-traffic areas, that signal "quiet study here?"
What if much of the first floor was an open space with places for both group and individual study, but with very little expectations that the space be "library quiet?"
Where, then, should the quiet spaces be?