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A guide to library etiquette

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It’s pretty safe to say that every student has visited the library facilities on campus at least once during their time studying at university. Whether you consider the library as a second home or you’re more of the occasional guest – library etiquette is essential to ensure a good study experience for you and those around you. Below we share a few handy tips on how to be a good library citizen.

Keep it peaceful

Being quiet in a library is a universal rule. There are even a few quiet individual study zones in the library, which means complete silence. So be self-aware of the noise you might make, like the music blasting in your ears which others might hear or that rustling food packet that you are snacking from. If you need to chat, there are plenty of areas in the library to talk which are away from the dedicated study zones.

Desks are hot property

Desks can be hard to come by during busy periods, so be mindful of the space around you and don’t hog unnecessary space for yourself. Others might miss out on study space if your bags, water bottles and other materials are spread out, so take care to keep things contained to your desk. If you have anything on the floor such as a laptop charger, make sure others aren’t going to trip over it.

Glorious food

Studying can work up quite an appetite for comfort food and the smell of hot chips lingering through the room is enough to distract anyone. If you can smell your food, it is more than likely those around you can smell it too. If you’re worried about distracting others, it’s best to eat outside or away from the study areas of the library.

Keep it clean

If you decide to take up residence in the library for a long haul of study, rubbish can accumulate. Since the library isn’t your bedroom, make sure you throw out your rubbish when you leave as it’s no fun for the next person to clean up after you. Plus, keeping the space around you clean can be less distracting and help keep your mind focused.

Bookable study spaces

Having an individual or group study room is a great option if you need a private space to study. Make sure you read the rules when booking a room through the library, be on time for your allocated booking, and leave on time as other students may have a booking after you. If you do use a study room remember the walls are not always soundproof, so you can chat but be mindful of those next door to you.

Borrowing behaviour

The library is full of resources for you to borrow that can help you succeed in your studies. Just be sure to remember when on-loan items need to be returned, as you can be fined. If you need to keep something for a little longer than the intended loan period, let the library know before it is due. Be aware of any high demand items, as their overdue fines are more expensive!

Tech no-no’s

Technology can help us study but you need to remember your tech etiquette. Try not to sit at a desktop computer in the library if you’re using a laptop, as other students might need the space. If you’re using your mobile, switch it to silent, so you’re not disturbing others. Be mindful of the volume on your laptop – it should ideally be kept off or otherwise, use your headphones.

Take your belongings

Leaving your items unattended can be risky and you should always make sure you take your items with you if you’re going to leave for a long period of time. If you need to go to the toilet or take a quick break, ask someone nearby if they can mind your things for a few minutes. Unattended items might also be a security risk and could be reported, so if in doubt, take it with you.

Written by public relations student Nathan Kerr and edited by professional writing and publishing student Abbey Carson

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