The stereotype librarian spends her time saying “sssh” and pinning up signs which read ‘silence’ all over her (naturally!) library. The reality is of course, more complex – libraries certainly need quiet areas, but they also require space for more noisy activities and readers – book clubs, group-work, readings, lectures and film-showing or music recitals. One of the design challenges in libraries is to provide for both, in a way that is least obtrusive and creates a welcoming atmosphere for our readers. So on a recent visit to Bergen Public Library in Norway we were very taken with the decorative felt hangings which were used in the children’s library and in computer rooms to absorb the sound. They are simple and very effective and look interesting and slightly funky and are composed of felt stuck onto a harder inner core. A quick search on the web revealed a number of suppliers of felt panels. Worth thinking about for Irish libraries.