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The Aquilian

    Gonzaga continues to enforce new phone policy in library

    Students still use the library to study despite the new restrictions on technology in the library. Photo by Liam Passey.

    From the library to the hallway, new technology policies are updated and enforced around Gonzaga. Since December, the library has had a zero-tolerance policy for the use of cell phones. The rule stems from an attempt to encourage students to take study spaces more seriously when it comes to academics. The policy represents a shift in culture for experienced students and a solid introduction to good habits for freshmen.

    “Especially for freshmen, it takes them a while to get used to the academic rigor here,” said Ms. Shannen Milletary, Gonzaga’s librarian. “It’s kind of guiding them on how to use their time a little bit more wisely.”

    The thought is that by limiting distractions students can be more focused on their individual work. Keeping the library as distraction-free as possible gives students the motivation to use their free time more productively.

    “If you’re using your phone less, especially in an academic space, you’re doing better in your classes,” Ms. Milletary said. 

    Although the intentions are well thought out, some students still see these updated rules as strictly authoritarian. The policies have been met with their fair share of criticism from students of every level.

    “Honestly, I don’t understand it,” said Ryan Kretz, junior. “The library is supposed to be a space more like a common area than a classroom.”

    Traditionally, phone use in the library has been fairly lax. People are simply used to considering the library a safe place to reach for their pockets and pull out their phones. The expectation has developed to that similar to being outside or in the upper commons. 

    “The phone policy doesn’t really change much,” said Anthony Sarro, freshman. “We still have our computers, so we will still get distracted.”

    It is noticeable upon entering the library that the computers do perform well at keeping students off task with a group playing Minecraft in one corner and another playing in the other on a recent Monday morning. 

    The librarians want to remind students, however, that the phone policy is not a final solution to solving studying distractions. Ultimately, that responsibility relies on the student. It also is important to note that the updated policy is not meant to limit the ability to socialize in the library.

    “Of course, we still want to have an environment where people can come and hang out with their friends,” Milletary said. “It just has to be within reason.”

    Despite this, many students still wonder why. Why this change? Why now? Well, the truth is that this “new” policy is not actually new at all. In fact, the restriction of phones in the library has been a rule outlined in the Parent Student Handbook for a while. 

    “We just want to be consistent with what we’re telling you in our guidelines for the school,” Ms. Milletary said.

    It is not the hope that the library’s phone policy depreciates Gonzaga students’ experiences. Nor is it the hope to completely control what they have access to at school. The intent is actually to promote better study habits and benefit the students in their academics. For more social and loose rules students are encouraged to use the common areas, use the cafeteria or enjoy the outdoors. Otherwise, Gonzaga is moving in the direction of prioritizing the library as a quiet study space for those who need it.

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