Quiet room

AdaCamp was a two-day unconference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture. This page is part of the AdaCamp Toolkit, which helps you take AdaCamp’s tools and practices and apply them to your own event. You can re-use the text of this page under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license with credit to the AdaCamp Toolkit.

AdaCamps provided a quiet room for attendees during all hours of the main daytime event. A quiet room is a comfortable room where talking and other interactions with other attendees aren’t allowed. It’s a place for people to sleep, work, read, think or have introvert time. At events that discuss difficult topics, it is a place to go and recover.

Thanks to events ranging from the WisCon SFF convention — which directly inspired our quiet room — to raves, for the quiet/chill room idea.

Sample description of quiet room for attendees

Use wording like the following in your attendee information:

EVENT provides a quiet room for all attendees at LOCATION accessed by [directions including any stairs or lifts]. The quiet room will have a SIGN DESCRIPTION sign at the entrance: SIGN GRAPHIC. The quiet room is open between HOUR and HOUR on DAYS.

You can work, think, chill out or nap in the quiet room but please don’t talk to other attendees. You can listen to headphones and you are also welcome to use computers and phones if they have their sound muted and you don’t have a voice conversation through them.

If you and someone else in the quiet room want to chat, please leave the room. If others are talking or making noise in the quiet room, and you are comfortable reminding them of the rules, please do so. Otherwise please ask the registration desk for help.

For organizers

Choosing a quiet room

AdaCamp found that a maximum of around 5% of our attendees might be in the quiet room at any one time.

Choose a moderately sized room somewhat distant from the main hub of your event, and otherwise reasonably quiet. Make sure the quiet room is a comfortable temperature for sleeping and is not overly bright (no unblocked direct sun or bright lighting). The lighting should be on the dim end of standard indoor lighting.

Make sure the room is wheel accessible, in terms of reaching the entrance, in terms of width of the entrance, and that there is adequate space within for chairs and scooters with access not blocked by furniture.

Make sure the quiet room has good wifi coverage and powerpoints.

Furnishing a quiet room

Provide a mixture of work furniture, eg tables and chairs — try for high quality ergonomics for people with pain conditions — and a few softer furnishings such as beanbags, couches or sofas.

Provide enough powerboards for at least half the room to use a powerpoint, and place them conveniently near each piece of furniture. Tape any leads to the floor so that they aren’t a trip hazard.

At events where people may share particular solo hobbies, it might be fun to place a few “treats” in the quiet room, such as yarns to knit with.

How to sign a quiet room

  1. print a large (at least letter sized) sign that has the words “Quiet room” on it, and optionally a visual quiet logo, and and place it on the door
  2. place any additional directions to the quiet room in the venue as necessary