Intercultural Smiles
Monday, October 28, 2019 Mary Paulton

Who does not like a little peace and quiet?

Shh.  At one time or another, we have heard or said this word.  It usually, but not always, accompanies an index finger placed before closed lips.  There is no real definition for shh, but it was derived from hush.  A logical explanation could be that the ‘sh’ in hush was held longer when the word was spoken more than likely for emphasis; hush.   Hush, a word gentle in nature, has appeared in song and verse.  A word meant to comfort and calm, redirect and restart, as well as prevent that which may offend.  Hush can also be used in noun form, as in, a hush fell over the crowded room.   Despite its origin, shh, on the other hand, is softer still, and commonly and widely used in place of hush for a variety of reasons.  Can you think back to the last movie theater you visited where you may have heard a patron quieted in this manner so as not to disturb others watching, or used to lovingly silence a crying child during a church service?  Let us not forget talking above a whisper in a library only to be cautioned with the finger to the lips by the staff.  No shh-ing here...would make too much noise.  On occasion, the reminder has been reduced to a deliberate gaze directed at the voices.


Times have changed in a way.  At the Lansing Library we are aware of aspects of interaction and have made accommodations to serve our community.  Our Main Room is the heart of our resources and runs the range of offerings from self-checkout through coupon clipping for the military to Friday Night concert series after hours. Lowered voices are tolerated here so that those in the know can help the library patron. For the business meeting, tutor session, discussion group, or watching a video without disturbing those in the Main Room, there are Study Rooms available to reserve for when general speaking voices are required.  If even the Main Room or Study Rooms are not to your liking, there is a room where no interference whether chatter or cell phone is allowed.  All that can be heard are your own thoughts in the Quiet Room located past the front desk to the right as you enter through the main doors.  We can accommodate larger groups in our Community Room on the lower level. Also, on this level is the Youth Department where children and teens can talk to their heart's content, however, inside voices only.  There is something for every level of peace and quiet at the Library.  Engage one on one with our free Wi-Fi or an interesting read. Enjoy a quiet conversation in our Main Room or delight in the solitude of our Quiet Room.  Accompany your children on our Lower Level for a variety of activities at any age.  No matter what your desired decibel of communication is, we hear you loud and clear.  You can put your finger on this.  Come see what all the noise is about at the Lansing Library.  Until then, smile at someone. It will forever resonate.