Shhh! Here are the do’s and don’ts of UC Berkeley library culture

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Whether you have been hitting the books in Moffitt since Day One or decided today is the day to start studying for your midterm tomorrow, you can’t help but notice that UC Berkeley library culture is a real thing. Though each library tends to draw a different crowd, there are many key similarities in the way students should carry themselves through their studying misadventures. Here is a breakdown of the behavior we want to see in the halls of knowledge on campus.

Not a crumb of food in sight

Food is what brings us together, but more importantly, it fuels us as we toil over problem sets and lectures throughout the day. The keyword here is “sight.” Nothing is worse than when you sense the person in front of you eating, and then look up for a split second and see every bit of macerated GBC salad in their mouth. To sweeten the deal, you might get a little ASMR with some chewing noises and sounds of cutlery scraping against the takeout box. Nothing beats the smell of Sliver in Moffitt during dead week (not)!

No overt “networking”

Sure, the library is a great place to make new friends or to study with your newly made buds, but it is most certainly not meant to be grounds for hardcore networking. Your internship experience may have been super cool; however, if you notice that the person you are trying to network with keeps trying to put their earbuds back in, consider their perspective. Networking can sometimes make people uncomfortable, especially when said people are in a library, potentially to avoid a networking event in the first place. 

No free concerts

This isn’t as much of an issue for spaces like the fourth floor of Moffitt, where there is already a layer of noise, but in quiet areas, this can definitely be a cause for concern — especially if your taste in music is less than satisfactory. It’s fine if you listen to music in the library. What is not fine is if the sound of our own music isn’t enough to filter out the cacophony that is your playlist. This also goes for notifications. Sometimes the Slack noise is cute, but if it’s ringing every two seconds and is accompanied by the ping of Facebook Messenger, don’t look surprised when the person in front of you looks up with tired eyes and croaks “busy? :)) .”

Leave romantic fantasies at home

Some people will claim to have met their current partner in a library. Notice how they never mention playing footsie with the person across from them as part of their story. Some barriers of personal space may already be compromised as libraries fill with each impending midterm, but that is no excuse to use the romantic lure of the liberty to go full-on with PDA when there are hardworking, single people trying to watch Course Captures on double speed. 

Avoid saving seats, or worse abandonment

If you have to use the restroom, it is reasonable to ask the person next to you to look after your stuff. If you are going off campus to have a get-together with your buddies and expect that your study spot will be pristine when you (if you) get back, we think you’re crazy. It would be nice if you at least put a little placard on top of your stuff in fancy font that says, “back in a jiffy.” The fact of the matter is that the library is a shared space, and we are completely certain that your jacket and laptop don’t need that space to do your homework for you.

At the end of the day, the quirks of “library living” are plenty, and we can’t tell people what to do and what not to do. The only thing we ask of you is to be mindful of the people around you. Though it is tempting to imagine your own bubble surrounding you in the library, the truth of the matter is that you aren’t the only one in it. 

Contact Malvika Singhal at [email protected] .