The Ten Commandments of Library Etiquette

JENNY DELL lays down the library law.

durham library

Regular readers of The One might remember my pre-October concerns about the changes at the library that took place this summer. For those of you who were mildly concerned, the upcoming and unavoidable essay deadlines drove me to venture in, with my campus card, and thankfully I have returned, with my campus card, safe and sound.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the new turnstiles that troubled me on my trip, but the behaviour of my fellow library goers. I realise we have had something of a glut of library related articles recently, but seriously, you freshers just need to know and you Library veterans need reminding. If you’re planning on visiting in the next desperate deadline filled weeks, kindly follow the ten commandments of library etiquette, to ensure we all have a productive and enjoyable learning session…

I) Thou shalt come to the library to work, not socialise. Has been discussed at length by other One writers, so no need for elaboration; would be nice if people paid attention to it, particularly you smokers.

II) Thou shalt not chatter in foreign languages. As above, but if you’re going to disturb me, it goes without saying that you must discuss something interesting, but this must be in a language I understand. Otherwise you really are just plain annoying.

III) Thou shalt not burp in the silent study area. Just because you have your headphones in it doesn’t mean that you are in the comfort of your own home and that we all can’t hear you. This act, alongside being generally a bit gross, is also slightly unnerving, since the unfortunate listener is never quite confident that the burp has actually happened: ‘Did someone really just…?’ Equally difficult is tracing the source.

IV) Thou shalt not fart in the aisles. Last year I was desperately hunting a particularly elusive volume when the only other person in the aisle tried to assassinate me using their home brewed methane. I can only imagine they too were looking for the final copy of ‘Critical Studies in Russian Literature’ and had resorted to extreme and unsubtle measures to prevent me from getting there first.

V) Thou shalt make at least a small effort to look acceptable. Even if you have been in the library for days, we still all have to look at you (or in particularly serious cases, smell you). No one is too stressed to shower.

VI) Thou shalt not pile up all the useful books for a particular module on your desk as some sort of library status symbol. You’re not the only one with a deadline within 48 hours (that’s probably a generous estimate) and since you are only going to skim read the top one, you might as well show a morsel of compassion and leave the other books on the shelf.

VII) Thou shalt not engage in PDAs in the library. It’s a library, not Loveshack. Seriously.

VIII) When there is plenty of space available, thou shalt find your own desk to work at rather than invading my personal space. The reason I have spread all my books everywhere is because I don’t want anyone sitting next to me. It is inevitable that the person who comes to unnecessarily share a desk either smells/ breathes loudly/ sighs constantly/ a combination of all these annoying traits.

IX) Thou shalt not eat delicious foods in the library that cannot be purchased in Yum café. I realise you have probably been saving that homemade brownie for a library low point, but although it’s made your day, the jealousy you’re causing your fellow students is frankly unkind. You can leave the stinky tuna and egg behind as well.

X) Thou shalt not forget the silent mode on your phone. You will regret it.

Happy studying!