Library Etiquette 101

Published

Credit: GG Archive

Jasmine Urquhart
Writer

As a third year who has spent approximately 1,000 hours in the library over the course of my degree, I have enough anecdotes about this 12 floor building to write a small book. But there are a few specific, recurring annoyances that just won’t seem to go away, so I will only discuss these things in this article. If I attempt to write about everything that anyone ever does that annoys me, I will probably have an aneurysm, so I have split all the rules of library etiquette into three short sections. So here is a (very brief) introduction to library etiquette…

Desk Etiquette

Firstly, and most importantly, do not be the person who uses a computer space without logging on. Seriously, if you hog a computer space only to use your laptop when there are many perfectly good seats on the SAME FLOOR, you should be utterly ashamed of yourself. I can’t believe it is 2019 and there are still people who commit this heinous crime. Anyone who does this while perfectly aware of the other available seats is a psychopath, plain and simple. What’s more is that there are so many signs pointing out that anyone who uses a computer station to use their laptop will suffer “disciplinary action”, but you wouldn’t know that considering the amount of times the university turn a blind eye to this kind of behaviour. There have been times when I have considered taking the law into my own hands and asked people to leave their seats, but the most I’ve ever managed is a very loud tut as I storm past these people, just so they know what I really think about them.

The second point I must raise about desk etiquette is something nearly as bad: Desk Hogging. If you abandon your space for more than an hour, you need to get a grip. I also cannot stress this enough: if you leave an iPhone charger, or one small book at your desk and assume that this is a sufficient way of marking your territory, then think again sweetie. If you haven’t even logged onto the computer yet expect people to leave your space alone, then I think it is only right that I claim your seat. Anyone who disagrees with me can come and talk to me when they are on their fifth attempt at finding a computer space with an imminent essay deadline and are prevented from working because of one phone charger. However, I need to say that everyone is entitled to leave their desk now and again, and we have all been that person who just wanted to leave for 10 minutes to get a coffee only to return half an hour later because of the queue in Starbucks. So, if I disappear for what seems like an age (but was more like 20 minutes), please don’t remove my stuff or I will put a curse on you.

I need to make one final point about desks, and then I promise I will move on. People who whisper loudly, do you realise that it doesn’t make a difference and is actually more annoying than just talking? Either go outside and chat about whoever you pulled in HIVE in a normal voice (and I mean outside, not in the corridor, because I can hear that as well) or zip it.

How To Use The Lift: For Dummies

There are a few mildly irritating things that occur within the lifts, but they happen so often that it just ruins my day at this point. First and foremost, if you press the button for level six, then get off at level six! You might think that’s obvious, but the amount of people who absent-mindedly press the wrong button is shocking. Nothing is worse than getting crushed by a Fjallraven backpack while the doors open at a random floor and nobody gets on or off. Secondly, if you get on at level two and know that you’re going to get off at levels eight, nine, or 10, then don’t stand to attention at the front of the lift while everyone else has to do an interpretative dance around your feet to get to their floors. Again, absolutely shocking behaviour. Another mild annoyance are the people who expect you to hold the doors open for them while they scramble to get on the lift, or people who put their arm in the doors to stop them from closing. Listen, I don’t care if you have an essay deadline today and can’t afford to waste another five minutes waiting for the lift – if you do this, just deal with the consequences of your actions.

A Very Short Guide to Using the Stairs

In my opinion, if you’re using the stairs you should always walk on the right-hand side. The reason being is that it is shorter if you are walking up the stairs, and longer if you are going down. I will not be taking any questions. Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but please don’t paint your nails on the stairs (yes, this actually happened according to Glasknow). Strictly walking up and down, please and thank you.

One thing that must be said which doesn’t fit neatly into any of the above sections is that you can’t just barge your way through the library and expect everyone else to be okay with it. Yes, Karen, I know it is 1pm and the library is crammed full of people trying to get a computer space (even if they won’t actually use said computer) and I know your dissertation is more important and interesting than anyone else’s, but that does not give you the right to knock me over with your backpack. I sincerely hope that you fail your exams.

Whenever I set foot beyond the threshold of the dodgy revolving doors, I have a permanent scowl on my face, as I know I will have to encounter some fresh hell. But I hope that this article will inspire some positive changes. If you’ve read this article (well done for putting up with my rant) and recognise yourself in one of these situations, then perhaps have a think about your behaviour, and remember that from now on I have a Zero Tolerance Policy regarding people who use laptops in computer spaces – so watch out.