Sound zoning at Hayden Library

First and second floors now designated for quiet conversation and silent study, respectively

The MIT Libraries are experimenting with sound zoning, a means to clearly communicate how a space may be used so people who visit the library for work or leisure can easily identify which space best fits their needs. Libraries at MIT are traditionally very quiet spaces, though we often receive requests from community members for a space to come together, talk, and collaborate.

The redevelopment of the mezzanine spaces in Hayden Humanities and Science Library allowed us to begin thinking about how to design our spaces for active or silent learning and collaboration. The 1st floor, where Libraries staff interact with users and colleagues, as well as where the open group study rooms are located, is by nature a more active and collaborative space. Based on these observances and requests from the community, the 1st floor has been designated as a quiet conversation zone and the 2nd floor as a silent zone. We are not zoning the basement at this time.

If there is insufficient space on the 2nd floor or you are simply looking for another quiet place to study, Barker (10-500), Dewey (E53-100), Lewis Music (14E-109), and Rotch (7-238) Libraries continue to serve as quiet spaces. If you have feedback to share based on your in-library experiences with the sound zoning, please Tell Us or contact us at