Library Adds New Recording Booth


Photo by Andrew Young

The latest addition to the school library’s collection of media gadgets is what looks like a big, black box on wheels.  It’s actually a WhisperRoom™, a 900 pound sound isolation booth that decreases ambient noise to allow for professional recordings. Librarian Gordon Jack had the idea of bringing a sound booth to Los Altos thanks to Freestyle Academy.

“We had two [sound booths] at Freestyle, and it’s where a lot of students went to do recordings and voice-overs,” Jack said. “They worked great because students could go in there and make a professional recording even if there was a whole class happening around them.”

Jack noticed that teachers are assigning more multimedia projects, and that an increasing number of students are requesting a quiet room to record in. However, the library recently lost access to the Reading Room, where a quiet space could have been created.

“We wanted to have a permanent space in the library where students could make more professional-sounding recordings,” Jack said.

Jack determined that a portable sound booth would be the best way to address the developing recording needs of students. Students can come in at any time to use the sound booth; there is no reservation process. Having the booth on wheels allows for flexibility when it comes to changing the layout of the library.

“People who do voice-overs in Hollywood have these [recording booths] in their home,” Jack said. “It gives them more control over the quality of the sound for their recordings, whether they’re musicians or voice actors or what have you.”

Jack has promoted use of the booth by having students record their responses to “Would you rather” questions. He will compile the replies into a podcast, which will be available on iTunes shortly.

The library’s growing list of media tools includes iMacs with Adobe Creative Suite, video cameras, film accessories and now, a professional sound booth.

“We’ve moved beyond getting out butcher paper and drawing posters,” Jack said. “What we’re trying to do is make sure that students are learning digital, twenty-first century skills, so that they can apply them to their coursework or to any kind of project that they’re interested in doing personally.”