Life Lessons: Library Etiquette

Those important unwritten rules that should help you avoid being ‘that bastard’ in the library.

I’ve tried to avoid it for two years. The attractive red bricks and leafy hedges of the exterior might inspire a naive academic confidence but we all know that through those turnstiles there is a slow pressure cooker which specialises in roasting minds. However, for some reason this exam season I’ve found myself drawn toward Hartley like a bewildered moth pulled toward a hot glowing light bulb of painful knowledge…or some such crap. For some people the library is more than just a building, it is the vital component of a full on masochistic lifestyle which they revel in on a daily basis. These individuals become so utterly engrossed in their studies that they eventually lose all concept of time, forget their own names and refuse to talk to anyone who is unable to back up a conversation with effective references. I’m not quite there yet (thank goodness!) although come third year I’m sure I’ll reach this point. But for those who are also experiencing their first forays into this gloomy purgatory, the advice below will help you use Hartley to its full potential:

Don’t come in if you’re a fresher. This isn’t a sixth form common room so bugger off back to whichever syphilis infected halls you spawned from. It’s written in the university rulebook but just to reiterate: scores above 41% mean you have wasted your first year.

Don’t try and reserve 15 seats for your entourage. That ain’t cricket, and you aren’t that popular anyway.

Do make quiet judgements about people based on what you can see on their laptop screens (a few weeks ago I saw some guys play the Travel IQ challenge for five hours, the absolute wastemen) but…

Don’t worry about going on facebook/youtube/your distraction of choice- you’ve definitely made some progress by opening up your work and everyone needs a little break, don’t they? Whoops, that’s another day wasted…

Do try and trap people in those roller shelve things in the basement.

Don’t feel bad about eating. Even the library hardcore have to do it sometime, although they normally glean all their nutrients from energy drinks and debris found in wastepaper bins. But if your food is something egg or tuna based then get the hell out and take your disgusting concoction elsewhere.

Do bring a hipflask in: it helps you relax and there’s no need for a prelash later.

Don’t worry if it takes you hours to find your seat again after going to ‘find a book’ (have a fag)- the library gremlins are always moving peoples stuff around. Or maybe you are actually going senile, which is more likely?

It actually looks quite pleasant, doesn't it?

Do dress inappropriately if you can pull it off. God knows we could all do with some eye candy in these dark days, but…

Don’t lech openly, you might dribble on your notes. Do post your thoughts on Floxx instead though, it entertains the rest of us.

Do play hide and seek amongst the bookshelves- it’s what they’re there for.

Don’t put your phone on silent if you have a hilarious ringtone. Anything to break the tension for everyone else.

Do smugly look down on those cheapskates without Macs if you own one. You deserve an exclusive special area with beanbags and an ice cream machine on a separate floor from the proles.

Do assume that people with Macs are pretentious wankers if you don’t have one.

Do devise elaborate practical jokes and unleash them on your unsuspecting friends. This one isn’t bad- poor Ernie.

Don’t take it all too seriously. Jumping the turnstiles because the queue to get in is too big? Come on guys, its time to step back and re-evaluate. This isn’t Nemesis at Alton Towers or the last ship out of Dunkirk. (Un)fortunately, just like your exams the library isn’t going to suddenly evaporate, so you might as well chill out. And in this case the queue is probably better than the end situation so suck it up and make the most of it.

Of course this list is by no means exhaustive: additional advice from library fanatics is most welcome, so comment away!