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Please enjoy the fourth installment of Ask Ms. Shelved, the irregularly scheduled advice column from HHSL!


Dear Ms Shelved:

 Last night I studied, stressed and sleepy, sitting on the 7th floor,
And heard a phantom laugh–so creepy!–from behind a closèd door…

Oh, sorry about that…I still regret not being an English major.

What I mean to say is that I was on the quiet floor and everyone around me was working independently in carrels, but I could sometimes hear voices coming from different areas of the floor. Is the library CuRsEd??? Are these unsettling utterances the work of the phantoms of past pupils… crying out in eternal agony about an exam they never quite felt prepared for? Will a ghastly ghoul set upon me should I fall asleep at my books? Please let me know, for I am quite spooked and not at all procrastinating.  


Haunted in Hirsh


Dear Haunted,

Well, you certainly do have an active imagination. Perhaps you should consider creative writing as a hobby.

Fortunately, these voices you hear are not the work of otherworldly spirits, but rather the high spirits of your fellow (living) students. The group study rooms are not soundproof, so when one gets overly enthusiastic about biochemical pathways, one’s voice might carry across the rest of the floor.

Let this serve as a reminder to those who use the rooms—be mindful of your volume! Though you might feel tucked away in your own private space, if you get too loud, you will perturb (or possibly spook!) one of your compatriots. A measured, “indoor” voice should suffice for communication.

And, my dear Haunted…might I suggest that you use headphones or earplugs? You can find both at the Library Service Desk. While we encourage the users of group study rooms to moderate their volume, total silence cannot be guaranteed. That being said, should niggling noises continue to break through your noise-dampening efforts, do not hesitate to gently ask the room occupants to be quieter. Or, if you are too timid, ask a friendly Library Service Desk staff member to speak to them.

Ever yours,

Ms. Shelved


A ghoul is specifically associated with graveyards, so even were the library to be haunted…it would not be by a ghoul. –M.S.

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Please enjoy the third installment of Ask Ms. Shelved, the irregularly scheduled advice column from HHSL!

Dear Ms. Shelved,

I know that an important part of my educational development is learning to collaborate with my peers and work well with others. But when it comes time to study for exams, all I want is some peace, quiet, and PRIVACY to study. But the Hirsh Health Sciences Library rules thwart me at all turns! I cannot book a Collaboration Room on the 5th floor as a single scholar. I’ve even been asked to LEAVE when a group wants the room to study. There are people EVERYWHERE?! I am a solitary creature, like a sloth. What am I to do?


Solo in Sackler

Sloth by henryalien is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Dear Ms. Shelved,

 It has taken a lot of courage for me to write to you. By nature, I am a retiring and reticent person, disinclined to make a fuss. But recently, I have been searching for a room in which I can study, and so many of them are occupied by a person or a few people. Sometimes there is only a backpack in the room. What should I do? I do not want to offend anyone by claiming the room, even if it has been sitting empty and the lights are off.  I am gripped with indecision and whipsawed by doubt! Also I have exams coming up and I need to study. But I’m so shy, like a sloth. Whatever shall I do?


Shy in Sackler

 Gentle Readers,

Solo, meet Shy. Shy, meet Solo. There, your problems are solved.

Ever yours,

Ms. Shelved

p.s. Okay, okay, let me explain…

Solo, you are correct that groups have priority for using all of our study rooms, including the 5th floor collaboration room and the 7th floor study rooms, and that groups may ask those studying alone to vacate. And Shy, it is true that people often do use rooms alone, and have a bad habit of leaving belongings behind to “claim” a room.

Not to play matchmaker (that’s another advice columnist), but if you want to use a quiet study room, why not SHARE? Solo, if a group asks you to leave the room, you can ask if they mind if you stay. Shy, if a room is empty except for some belongings, move right in and study! When the person or group returns, let them know you’re happy to share.

Ms. Shelved knows this is a high-stress time of year. Space is at a premium, and we need to work together, like female sloths (males are the shy, solitary ones my friends).

Ever yours (although it is incorrect to sign a letter again in the postscript),

Ms. Shelved

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