Melvil Dewey, perhaps the most famous librarian to ever live, is notorious for his Dewey Decimal Classification system, his unusual dedication to spelling reform, and for inspiring some of the worst rap music the world has ever heard. Were he still alive, Dewey would be 164 years old today.
Irrepressible Reformer, a biography on Dewey, describes his fastidious nature, especially concerning noise:
“He had rubber tips placed on chairs and tables, rubber wheels on book trucks, and issued slippers for all pages. All new readers were handed cards requesting them to step lightly across the room and not talk away from the loan desk, even in low tones. They were told not to use tobacco, wear hats, put their feet on chairs or tables, or litter the premises.”
Not even our Reference Department is so extreme about silence (although I wouldn’t say no to some library-issued slippers). I would love to know what Dewey would have made of cell phones.
If you want to learn more about Dewey feel free to ask a librarian, or check out Gale Biography in Context. This is also a great time to find out what on earth the Dewey Decimal System is for. This knowledge will change your life - or at least the way you use the library.