Library etiquette

Michael Drummond/File
Michael Drummond/File

We go to libraries to get work done (well, at least to attempt to get work done). Yet whenever we go to one, there always seems to be at least one person who doesn’t follow the unspoken library code of conduct. These sacred rules should never be broken, and because certain people clearly don’t understand them, we at the Clog would like to put them in writing.

Chew your food elsewhere

Libraries aren’t meant to be eaten in. We, however, understand if you’ve gotta sneak in some snacks occasionally (or frequently) — you do you. But please, please, please for the love of God don’t chew so loudly that even the squirrels outside of the library looking for crumbs will be able to hear you. Frankly, it’s quite gross and you’re not helping yourself stay on the down-low in Main Stacks — away from the librarians and food police.

Keep the volume of your music low

You know there’s a problem when the people across from you start tapping their feet to the beat of your music. It’s not just a coincidence — they can totally hear The Weeknd’s “Starboy” on repeat from your headphones. While they may be enjoying your DJing, others are likely getting disturbed.

Don’t go on a trip after asking someone to watch your stuff

When you ask someone to watch your stuff, you shouldn’t be gone for 30 minutes. Try to stay within a 15-minute window, max. If you take too long, the person watching your stuff may need to go to the bathroom or need their own break. Then they’ll have to ask someone to watch your stuff and their stuff, and if they take a long break, someone else will have to watch more stuff … it’s a vicious cycle, so don’t get trapped in it!

Avoid asking someone to move their backpack

We know it’s frustrating when you desperately need a seat in the North Reading Room and there are chairs being occupied by backpacks, not humans. Yet at the same time, there’s probably a reason someone has their backpack on the chair — maybe it’s to save the seat for a friend, or maybe they believe their backpack needs a place to sit. Asking someone if this seat is taken should be your last resort.

Don’t frown when you’re staring into space

It’s so easy to get distracted in libraries — we understand that people watching is addictive because we’re slightly obsessed with it too — but try to keep a kind demeanor when you’re distracted and staring into space. If not, your scowl and stare into oblivion might scare the person who happens to be sitting in your direction during your trance. They won’t know what they did to wrong you, and it’ll make the library silence and people-watching even more awkward. #yikes

We hope these library rules help you the next time you’re in the library – whether it be in VLSB or Wurster Hall. And remember, if someone doesn’t follow these rules, scowl away! 

Contact Avanti Mehrotra at [email protected].