A Short Guide to Library Etiquette

Imogen Clark lays down the law of the silent section.

With deadlines looming, the library is a veritable hotbed of stress. There is test cramming, report writing, essay proofreading – and a fair amount of it is rather last minute. And to top it all off, some students seem to go out of their way to raise the blood pressure of their fellow St Andreans. I don’t know whether you realise what you’re doing, or whether you’re too self-centred to care, but do me a favour: take a look at these few easy steps to be less irritating. Please, help your fellow students.

1. If you’re in the silent section, be silent.

It’s really great that you’ve realised your best mate is just a few desks away but do you honestly need to jump up for a full-on catch up? I mean we virtually all have phones and laptops with access to the internet and Facebook, so maybe use that to say hello, or suggest you have that catch up downstairs? Because to be quite honest I don’t really care about your drunken antics or opinions on FS, and your “whispering” is frankly just irritating everyone around you. So please either be quiet or go away.

2. If you sneak in food, put it in a quieter container.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all looked at that “no food” sign upstairs and decided the powers that be can’t dictate our stomachs. Comfort eating or stress eating is how I deal with most difficult things in my life – essay deadlines, Mondays, rain – so I sympathise. Just at least try being subtle about it. Rustling a wrapper or tearing a packet so that the whole floor can hear is more than a little off-putting. Dispose of the wrapper or packet, swap it for something a bit quieter, and problem solved. Oh, and if you make any mess, clear it up. It takes seconds.

3. Don’t take up more than one desk.

 You people are actually the worst. No one likes to be sat next to other people in the library. The more space around you the less distractions, the less annoying personal ticks you have to endure and the less second hand cigarette smoke you have to inhale. When the library is busy, however, just deal with it. The library is a public space with already limited seating and more people than you are wanting to use it to work in. Consolidate your stuff on one desk. If you don’t like people that much, go work alone at home.

4. Turn your music down.

Imagine this: you’ve actually managed to achieve focus, you’re making progress with your work, your brain is a zone of total chill and you’ve got a great train of thought running and… Oh no, wait, it’s gone. Why? Because someone sat near you has a desire to burst their eardrums. Be it Black Sabbath or Hakuna Matata, I’ve listened to a lot of great music from other people, but in doing so I always lose all focus. Now instead of quoting Shakespeare in my essay, I’m writing down Ed Sheeran lyrics. Remember headphones are there to keep personal music personal, so turn it down just a tad.

5. Arrive and leave like a ninja.

Funnily enough, people arriving in the library never seem to be so much of an issue, but leaving is another story. It’s as if some of you want to lord it over us that you’re done for the day and you can finally make that bid for freedom, while the rest of us continue slaving away until closing. You slam books shut, you bang your bag and laptop onto the desk, you zip and unzip every pocket on your person and then let your Apple headphones bounce like teeny tiny ping pong balls across my last nerve. Just have a little respect for those of us still stuck in purgatory yeah? 

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373 thoughts on “A Short Guide to Library Etiquette

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