Taking the campus by storm, the news of the Davis Family Library’s latest acquisition of two CellZone booths has been spreading like wildfire across social media. So of course, hearing the news, I did the next most logical thing and went with one of my best friends to test them out and take pictures.
The good: Really cool idea, and I like the harkening back to the era of phonebooths. Very futuristic time-capsule type feeling, but practical with a cell-phone charging station inside (cords for various kinds of phones included). There is even an air purification system inside!
The bad: Not actually fully soundproof. According to our very scientific study (of entering, making a phone-call and having the other see if they could still hear us at various distances outside while one was in the booth talking) we’ve determined that while the sound is dampened, if you’re in the immediate area, you can definitely still hear the chatting. Go a few carrells back and you’re fine, but most likely annoying to the people directly around it.
The remaining questions: Where did these come from, why are they here, and will they be staying for good? (Update 2/19: We have some answers! Thank to all our commenters, especially Joseph Watson (Preservation & Processing Manager and LIS Facilities Coordinator for the added info!):
Why: Watson explained the dual purpose of these booths in the comments below, and his LIS Blogpost:
1) To Help With Disruptive Cell Phones Use in the Library: “For years we’ve had complaints about people having cell phone conversations adjacent to study areas. Other academic libraries like ours have successfully used cell phone booths like these to solve that problem,” Watson wrote on the blog. LIS corresponded with UMass- Amherst and “were told that the booth had been very well received there and was heavily used by students,” he explained via email. Other schools such as Harvard Business School, University of Baltimore, and Bentley University use them as well. Even cooler? “There are two installed in the “situation room” in the basement of the Whitehouse. We’re told they were positively reviewed by the likes of Vice President Cheney and Sec. of State Rice,” Watson shared.
2) To Benefit Staff Work/Life Balance: Watson explained there are “about thirty staff members working in shared offices in Davis Family Library and these folks don’t have a private place for phone calls to their doctor, baby sitter, etc. Part of the reason we acquired the cell phone booths was to enhance the work/life balance of these staff members.”
Where: While it does seem these are in the library for good, the permanent locations for the booths are still to be determined. Joseph Watson explained via email, “if there is a general feeling that the current placement of the booths is not ideal, we will find a better spot for them. We need to strike a balance between them being too high profile and being easily found so they are convenient.” As he wrote on the blog, if you have suggestions on the booth’s placement, feel free to email him (firstname.lastname@example.org).
$$: According to previous coverage of ‘CellZone’ products, it seems each unit costs between $2,400$-3,500, though Watson explained the library acquired them at a “deeply discounted price.” Due to an agreement with the company, the library is unable to share the exact price.
As Watson concluded his post, “We purchased them at a deeply discounted price and we hope they’re worth it. Only time will tell. ” What do you think? Are you a fan of the Cellzones now at Midd?