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Studying at the Library: Bad Patron Behaviors

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Libraries, by definition, have been the ideal place to study—full of resources and quiet. So when I decided to set up shop in the far corner of my local library, I had no idea the outlandish and extremely distracting patron behavior I would come across, and as such, knowing that college students spend the majority of their time studying, I decided to compose a must-read quick guide for library etiquette. Note: These guidelines or, rather, exhortations are based directly upon my bizarre encounters at the library.

Library Etiquette 101 – Loudness

Loudness is by far the biggest irritation to library patrons. When our minds are involved in thought and our eyes are fixed to the source of our focus, the one thing that can detach our work’s attention is sound. Someone’s loud talking, laughing, banging, crashing, screaming, whatever it is that reaches clear detectability, is beyond an annoyance if it breaks a lucid thought or pattern of study. This should be a no-brainer as it is an already established rule at any library. However, based upon my recent experiences, I have come to the conclusion that people generally display no regard for this rule. Not only were people loud, they were laughably bizarre. Combine loud with outlandish behavior at the library, you will only make enemies. Here are some examples:

1. Loud Conversations About Sex With an Ex-Partner

Loud conversations are distracting enough, but add in the element of a juicy, dysfunctional conversation regarding sex and relational unfaithfulness between frustrated ex-partners, how is it possible for anyone to pay attention to their comparably mundane study.

RULE: Keep the loud love dramatics out of the public earshot.

2. Loud Make-Out Sessions

Kissing makes a very distinct sound, similar to that of eating a cheeseburger—a sort of lip-smacking, popping noise. We’ve all heard it in movies, we’ve all kissed someone either on the cheek or elsewhere, but when a couple of strangers do it in plain view, in public, it becomes nauseating and crass to surrounding, objective people. Picking the library, of all places, to be the “spot” is completely unacceptable.

Also, not only should you not “make-out” in public libraries, please refrain from making out with someone who is sick—sniffling, snorting, sneezing, coughing, blowing, oozing, and then kissing? This adds even more disgust to an already disgusting scene.

RULE: Keep physical affection, sickness, and a combination of both to the bedrooms.

3. Loud iPods, Singing, Drumming, Pounding, and Beatboxing

Whether someone is just plainly oblivious or being a showoff, singing, making drum beats on the table or drum beats with their mouth, shaking the walls of public laptop stations will only result in head-to-head conflict: quick verbal passes of “shut-up” or being on the receiving end of a flying object. (I have been tempted to use both “silencing” methods in order to make people stop being ridiculously distracting and, quite honestly, rude.

RULE: Keep the one man band act for the shower or car or wherever else preferred.

4. Loud Computer Slander Using Expletives

All computers malfunction; all computers can run slow; it is common. A constant flow of swear words loud enough for the library check-out counter in front of the building to hear you will not help your technical problem and is quite unnecessary.

RULE: Keep the rash temperament, rage, and explicit language for the back of your mind.

5. Loud Toddlers Speaking Expletives

If you are a mother or are bringing children into the library with you, make sure none of them speak profanely. It is quite distracting to hear a three year old say, “What the hell?” while he is reading a picture book.

RULE: Three year olds shouldn’t swear. (I’m not sure how this became an issue.)

6. Loud Sounds from Porn Videos

Watching porn in a library is flagrant enough, but when the earphone cable comes loose and the sound from the video is displayed for all to hear, there is no recovery for the patrons who heard it and the person who accidentally initiated the mortifying moment.

RULE: Keep your brain on, don’t watch porn, don’t bring porn to the library to watch, keep the earphone chord in the jack and the volume at a reasonable level.

Thank you for reading. Please be heedful of what you have just learned the next time you study at the library.


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