Acoustics at Goodnow Library
Libraries today are becoming a community hub for books, resources, and events. As they become busier and busier they also become noisier. DDS Acoustical Specialties was contacted by Goodnow Library in Sudbury, Massachusetts to help them solve issue of noise and echo in their reading room and the Sara Sherman NOW lab.
Opened in 1863, Goodnow Library was the second free public library in Massachusetts. Over the years additions and improvements were made all while carefully preserving the building’s 1863 historic structure. As the library grew and embraced the changing environment and needs of the community, Director, Esme Green wanted to improve the acoustics in various spaces.
“We were planning a renovation of our Historical Room, but noticed that the sound was really bad. Lots of echo with even just two or three people using the space. We knew we needed to do something to make an improvement”
The Noise Problem at Goodnow Library
Goodnow Library prides itself on maintaining its historic footprint. However, historic buildings are typically constructed of hard, reflective surfaces such as hardwood floors, brick, and plaster. This was the case for Goodnow, and as a result spaces in the library had a problem with echo and reverberation. For visitors, this echo made it less comfortable and more difficult to concentrate.
There were two areas that needed attention, the reading room and the Sara Sherman NOW lab.
The Noise Solution
In order to cut down on the echo and reverberation DDS Acoustical Specialties needed to introduce products with high sound absorption.
In the reading room the team ran reverberation calculations and came up with a solution that would reduce noise in the room by 2 decibels(dB) and get to a desired reverb time of 1second. To get there we installed a combination of 1″ and 2″ Sound Quality Chroma wall and ceiling panels. These panels are unique because they can be color matched and painted any color. In addition, their natural white state also matches great with existing sheetrock or plaster, which is what Goodnow opted for.
We installed 35 Chroma panels throughout the reading room on the walls and the ceiling and immediately you could notice a difference.
Sara Sherman NOW Lab
The second area in need of sound absorption was the Sara Sherman NOW Lab. The walls of this space were a combination of glass and gypsum, once again hard, reflective surfaces but bring a more modern look to this area of the library. To keep with this aesthetic and cut down the reverberation we installed 2″ white melamine foam to the ceiling and upper walls of the space.
This application reduced the noise in the space by 7dB and brought the reverberation time down to 1second. That’s a noise reduction of nearly half (because a 10dB reduction = 50% quieter) and a significant acoustical improvement.
“I reached out to a number of companies, but only DDS Acoustical seemed to understand and care about the project. The experience was great. Clear proposal, price points, and a quick installation. The sound in the spaces is noticeably better. People using the library are amazed!”Esme Green, Director of Goodnow Library
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