Hand-held music is changing many social scenes. More students run alone, walk alone, and study alone. Their only companion is their iPod.
In terms of class work, this may have positive results because it reduces wasted time gossiping or distracting one another from the studying process. I also concentrate better with certain types of music. My professors even allow us to bring in headsets when we are doing individual projects during class.
But, this is not the typical environment that we will be working in. At my two internships, employee interactivity was crucial. Relationships among co-workers helped metaphorically dissolve the cubicle walls. With headphones on, these friendships would struggle to exist.
The college library compares to a typical office atmosphere. People work on their individual projects, socialize, and use the resources of the building. When returning to the library this fall, try to avoid the headphones and take in the social atmosphere around you. You may be surprised as to how much you learn.