Library Etiquette 101


So you want to study in the library (aka “hit up club lib”)? Good job. Heading there is the first step. But now that you’re there, you have to ask yourself – is it really acceptable to be talking on your cell while chewing those potato chips with your mouth open? Here is your library etiquette 101:

What not to do:

If you do these things, you will soon find yourself the subject of a negative conversation between other club lib attendees, in which you’ll be known as “the annoying guy/girl who is…”

…talking where you’re not supposed to.

The different floors in the library have different noise level designations. Know them, follow them, and you’ll be good. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Mudbox: Social – talk as much as you want! The Mudbox is a perfect place for doing group projects or grabbing a snack and chatting with some friends to take a break from a study session.

Lower level and first floor: Moderate – you can talk, just don’t be too obnoxious – which means this isn’t the place to be speaking and laughing at the same level you would in TDR. People are still trying to study.

Second floor: Silent – zip you lips and throw away the key. Sure, whispering to your friend who walks by is fine, and there’s no need to get self-conscious when your backpack zipper is super loud, but other than that it should be silent.

Third floor: Quiet – the perfect place to whisper or talk quietly with friends.

…munching on loud or smelly food.

Unless you’re in Mudbox, don’t crunch on Doritos, open a bag of popcorn, or eat anything with a sound or scent that will travel. This can be distracting and sometimes nauseating. This is especially true if you’re on the silent floor, where those Doritos will be, you know, not silent.

…not wearing headphones.

Never, ever, ever play music out of your computer or phone’s speakers. They invented headphones for a reason. If you forgot yours, you can get buy some from the tech services desk (more info below).

And don’t be playing your music so loud that the people around you can hear it out of your headphones. You can be perfectly “in the zone” without annoying the people near you – or damaging your eardrums.


The gray areas:

Several matters of library etiquette are up for debate. Club lib, just like all clubs, is home to its fair share of awkward situations. I can’t tell you what to do when they arise, and many times I’m not sure myself, but if you’re aware of them you can better navigate these problems when they arise.

Table saving

The four-person tables on the second and third floors are some of the best spots in the library. They’re right by the windows (bird-watching, anyone?) and have tons of available outlets. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on how they should be used.

Some people think groups of friends should have priority. So when you’re sitting at one all by your lonesome, don’t be surprised if you see a group of two or three friends fill up the seats next to you, possibly with the hope that you’ll feel awkward (or annoyed by their conversations) enough to leave. Others, however, think individuals have the right to enjoy a table all for themselves without the threat of unwelcome invaders.

If this is you, maybe consider spreading out your notebooks, open up some textbooks, and a strategically place a few water bottles all across the table so it at least looks like you need the whole surface. How you navigate this is up to you, but whichever end of this scenario you’re on, make sure to always be polite and courteous of the other people involved.

“Can you watch my stuff?”

You’re studying alone, your laptop and books are all spread out perfectly on your desk – you’ve made yourself cozy. Aaaand then all that caffeine you drank earlier sets in and you need to go to the bathroom. Whatever shall you do?

Some people are comfortable asking the person next to them to watch their computer and other things for a few minutes. This is fine to do, but remember: there are some bad people in the world, and your stuff could still get stolen.

Ideally, you should use a laptop lock to secure your precious, expensive computer that holds the hard drive to your college career. These are available to rent at the tech services desk on the lower level. Unfortunately not a whole lot of students take advantage of these, but it’s the only solution that can give you complete peace of mind, other than packing up and taking everything with you every time you get up – and let’s face it, no one really wants to do that.

But what if the person next to you asks you to watch their stuff? Most people say “sure” and keep an eye on it, but you’re definitely not obligated to. You can always tell them you’re about to leave if you would rather not have the responsibility.


Tips and resources:

The library has lots of great resources available. Here are some of the best:

Tech services desk:

Located on the lower level, this is where you can rent just about anything you’ll need to make your study sesh a success. The menu includes:

  • Laptops (Dell PC and Apple Macbook Pro models)
  • Headphones (earbuds can be bought for $2)
  • Dell and Apple Power Cords
  • Mac VGA Adapters
  • Tablet Computers (Surface Pro, Google Nexus, and iPad models)
  • Kindle and Nook eReaders
  • Graphing and Scientific Calculators
  • Laptop Locks
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Books on course reserves (all required books for Gen Ed classes can be borrowed here)


If you’ve ever needed to print something from the library printers right before a class period begins, you know how awful it is to be stuck in the line waiting to use the computers by the printers. To bypass the line, print straight from your laptop.

Group study rooms:

Need to hammer out a group project and don’t want to deal with the crowd in the Mudbox? You can reserve a Collaborative Workroom on the first floor. These cool little glass boxes of group study work heaven even have whiteboards in them so you can sketch out the master plan.

You can reserve them for groups of two or more for up to three hours. You must reserve at least one hour in advance. Talk to the nice person at the front desk to do so.


Now get out there and get studying!


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