The scream of the squeaky door: hard to handle

Johnny Franks/Occidental Weekly

Imagine a calm, Sunday night in Clapp Library. Students are hunkering down to finish work they have procrastinated on all weekend or gathering around whiteboards in groups to review for an Econ midterm. Suddenly, everyone pauses and tears begin to roll down their cheeks as they wait for the unmistakable harpy-like screech of the library door to end.

You know the one.

The squeaky door’s personal, barbaric yawp comes in the form of a squeaky, three-tone note that slides from E sharp down to a G flat, traveling from the circulation desk to the color printer. If facing the main entrance of the Academic Commons from the outside, the culprit door is the second one from the left.

Both library employees and students alike have been terrorized by the door. The sound is quite noticeable and highly distracting, according to Lucy Kolpa (sophomore). Kolpa said she usually studies on the top floor where the door’s antics cannot be heard.

Wendy Sia (sophomore) works at the library’s ITS help desk on the main floor and therefore hears the door constantly. According to Sia, the sound has been going on since last year, but she is now able to tune it out.

“I notice it happening, but it is just sort of part of all the library’s sounds,” Sia said.

Then there’s Kate DeCoste (senior), who said she has always been unfazed by the door. DeCoste studies in the same spot on the library main floor every day, yet said she never notices the door’s squeak, even when she is not wearing earbuds. DeCoste said the door should be left alone and not bullied for being itself.

“Everyone is going through their own issues, even that door. It is not a big deal,” DeCoste said.

DeCoste could be right, perhaps we should give this door a break. After all, there may be a reason for its complaints. When students need to use their ID cards to unlock the doors at night, the nearest scanner happens to be right beside the squeaky door, making it the most used. And if the door is overworked, what other way does it have to let students know about it?

Johnny Franks

And yet, Sia said that the squeakiness of the door does not deter anyone from using it, even when all of the doors are unlocked during the day.

“I think everyone knows about it, yet people still use this door over the other ones,” Sia said.

Apparently, some people actually enjoy wreaking unfathomable havoc on the peaceful library atmosphere and torturing the door.

Since students like Sia and Decoste are able to focus despite the door, Occidental may not need to repair it completely. Instead, the school could simply upgrade the door’s sound. Kolpa said she would like to have the tell-tale squeak replaced by ocean sounds. It could wash away any stress percolating in the library air.

Sia went in a less peaceful direction.

“It would be great if it was replaced with a One Direction song,” Sia said.

Of course, we would have to make sure this change is alright with the door. If the door really wants a break, the sound of a fire alarm might be more fitting.

While the squeak of the door can be difficult to endure, the Clapp’s atmosphere might, in the end, seem a bit off without it. I entreat you to be considerate. The next time you’re on your way to hit the books, pause before the left-side entrance and consider spreading some love to the three other doors. And if you see someone use the squeaky door, kindly pull them aside and explain the door’s situation.

If we work together, the door won’t have to scream like a moose in a cyclone whenever it is opened, and the library’s tranquility could be preserved.