An acquaintance of mine works at the newly opened William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library. When our teacher asked if we loved football, my acquaintance’s answer was an emphatic NO.
Apparently, drunken fans chose to shout OH – IO as they walked through the Main Library this past Saturday after the game. You know, while the few students who are not obsessed with football were studying. After hearing this story, I began to think about what appropriate behavior in the libraries is and how easy it is to forget.
The libraries aren’t like other buildings. They’re dedicated to learning and the quiet concentration often needed to think properly. If you want to go have a long and involved conversation about how your boyfriend cheated on you with your brother or sister or dog, go down to the cafes; that’s what they’re there for. The group study spaces are naturally going to be louder, but that’s okay since the space is designated for group projects and set apart to keep the quiet in the rest of the building. If those spaces are full, go to Starbucks or your home. Do not sit up in the stacks, or in the general study space, and try to carry on conversations in whispers. We can still hear you.
Group conversations aren’t the only problem; many people forget that it’s hard to whisper on a cell phone. Here’s an example: you call your boss to change your work schedule while you’re studying at the library. You think that it’ll just be a quick phone call, but it ends up being a dissertation on why you were late for work yesterday. The other people in the area glare at you, but you pretend to ignore it until finally someone comes up and asks you to go somewhere else to chat. You huffily hang up and glare right back at everyone, because they have infringed on your life.
What’s wrong with this scenario? You. The library is a public space — treat other people with courtesy and go outside to talk on the phone.
We are lucky here at Ohio State to not only have access to our own libraries, but to the great library system in the state of Ohio through cooperation with other cities and universities. We need to respect these buildings and the people trying to use them: it’s the golden rule, people. We are selfish creatures, so I’ll put it another way. How would you feel if you had a huge test to study for and somebody was talking at the next table, completely ruining your concentration? You’d be angry, no question about it. Next time you find yourself gossiping in the library, try to think about how those actions affect the people around you. I mean, if the libraries turn into gossip-houses, where am I going to study?