Dewey Decibels: The Hoosierist Takes on Loud Libraries

Cacophonous libraries, wintry greenways, and curious professional licenses. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: It’s infuriating that libraries aren’t quiet anymore. Can you recommend a peaceful spot to read in one? 
Monroe L., Carmel
A: The Hoosierist has also noted that quiet libraries have become as rare as old-school card catalogs. Blame the library’s evolving role. A couple of decades ago, it was mostly used by bookworms who preferred to pore over their prose in silence. These days, your typical book depository is more like a community center, hosting club meetings and after-school groups. Add in the din of people clacking away on computer keyboards and chatting on their cell phones, and one starts to see why libraries are as noisy as a 5-year-old’s birthday party. What’s a harassed bibliophile to do? Many libraries now offer “quiet zones” to which antisocial readers can retreat for respite. Look around at pretty much any Indy branch, and you’ll find one.
Q: How big of a usership hit does the Cultural Trail take in the winter?
Elise M., Indianapolis  
A: Though strolling the Cultural Trail in January sounds as enticing as hitting the ski slopes in July, executive director Karen Haley says the eight-mile complex of walkways gets far more winter use than you’d think. Primarily because the entire thing is scrupulously plowed. Obviously it’s not as well-traveled as it would be on a summer evening, but even on the roughest winter days, it still sees a robust selection of hardcore bike commuters and runners for whom it’s the only snow-free route to work. If the Cultural Trail crew is this good at timely snow removal, maybe the city should hire it to plow The Hoosierist’s street.
Q: What kinds of jobs require a professional license in Indiana? 
Hank C., Bloomington
A: It might be easier to ask which professions don’t require a certificate. One in seven Indiana residents has to obtain a state license in order to do their work—from the obvious (doctors, accountants) to such head-scratchers as barbers, auctioneers, and massage therapists. It’s all handled by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, which regulates 42 fields of human endeavor through myriad oversight boards. Getting a license, even for non-dangerous professions, can be a big deal. Barbers must take 1,500 hours of training to make the cut. And if you wish to make a living by rubbing oil on the backs of naked strangers, you need a license from the State Board of Massage Therapy, which is a real thing that The Hoosierist didn’t just make up.
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