Sometimes people ask me about library etiquette. It seems a strange question to me. What is library etiquette? Nothing more than general good manners, really.
Everyone knows that one must be quiet. Turn cell phones off or at least on a vibrate or silent setting. No brainer, right? It is also generally known that food and drink is not allowed in the library proper, though some of them have a lobby or may be in a larger building complex where food and drink might be otherwise allowed. But here are some other no-brainers not so generally followed.
Return books when due or renew them promptly: you are not the only one wanting to read that hot best-seller. Likely, there are several lined up for it behind you. And if you return the book on time, no fee! So you won’t feel the pressure of waiting until the free late charge day- or whatever your local library calls their annual consequence- free day. Most of us are patient with the slower-than-average reader. Thus, if you must renew, no one’s going to grumble- as long as it is done promptly. The same goes for movies.
If the book you want is directly below the shelf someone else is currently browsing, wait your turn: nothing horrific is going to happen if you don’t get that book immediately. You’re not going to die, your kids are not going to instantly come down with a mysterious illness, and your house is not going to spontaneously combust. Chances are, that book will still be there when your fellow patron’s browsing is done.
When your time is up on the computer, find something else to do: Most libraries are lenient on this one. If no one else is waiting, they’ll usually give you a second session. But if people are waiting or the librarian on duty is a stickler for rules, that’s all right. You can get back on it tomorrow. Closely related to this is the rule of not looking over your neighbor’s shoulder. What they’re doing online is none of your business. At the same time, it is generally unacceptable to look at porn on a public computer, particularly at the library. There are usually children present.
These are pretty basic and should be followed in society as a whole, but you would be surprised what sometimes happens even in so-called intelligent places. Really, though, just remembering what is commonly known as the golden rule (“Do unto others as you would have done unto you”) and applying it is all you need to do.