Do’s and Don’ts of the Public Library

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

While students have experienced both incredible highs and possible lows with the passings of both Homecoming and midterm exams, we have reached a pivotal point in the school year. As we continue through the second half of the first semester, students will be looking to buckle down and find a quiet space to complete their assignments.

Campus amenities such as the university library and other free and available workspaces will be more crowded than usual.

While universal rules are posted in most libraries, rules are not universally followed.

Here are some tips on creating the best atmosphere and library experience for yourself and your classmates working just as hard in the William R. & Norma B. Harvey Library. 

This is a list of Do’s and Don’ts when visiting the library.  


Do respect the library faculty and obey their policy. Respect librarians and helpers, as these are knowledgeable individuals who can help you in any way you need. 

Do respect the university’s materials. Although tempting, typical note-taking actions such as highlighting, page folding and underlining library books are taboo. Some books or collections cannot be replaced by the library as simply as popular or mainstream items. Be considerate of fellow students and return the material in the state as you found it.

Do return reading materials and books to where you found them. If you don’t remember or are not sure, ask a faculty member. Shelved books in the wrong location can be challenging for library workers to find and students as well.

“I’ve been in the library not only for a useful workspace but also to find and use textbooks for my classwork,” said Brandon Davis, a junior Kinesiology major. “It’s kind of frustrating when stuff is in the right place or flat out not there.”


Don’t be noisy. The library is one of the few tried and true free public spaces used by primarily students and educators.

The university library has provided designated areas in the main building and a 24-hour study area for collaborative efforts. They are effectively allowing you to communicate with your friends or group members if necessary. If you find yourself working alone, be considerate of those around you and try to keep conversations to a minimum. 

“If you want to socialize, go to the Stu,” said Jeremiah Williams, a junior journalism and communications student. “Don’t interrupt me and my study time for pointless conversation.”

Don’t take up group rooms or large spaces if you don’t intend on being productive. These are very limited yet constantly and understandably in demand. Taking desk space or occupying computers for your friends is thoughtless, especially during exam periods. 

“One of my biggest pet peeves is people asking me how long I am going to be in a study room while they have a bag of Wendy’s in their hand,” Williams said.

While packing a light snack or bringing a bottle of water is encouraged to remain attentive, don’t overstep by bringing overly noisy or smelly dishes into the space. Even though the nourishment you bring might be a necessity to keep yourself on task, it could be a major distraction to those around you. 

Furthermore, make sure to clean up after yourself when eating or to drink anywhere in the library. Seeing food wrappers and empty water bottles is an unpleasant sight, especially around computers or pieces of equipment. 

Don’t be afraid to interact with the library staff. Even though the library is regarded as a quiet space, it is OK for you to communicate to someone that you need help with book recommendations for your projects and assignments. As long as you remain respectful, librarians are a great starting point for any type of research-based task.


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