Monday, August 22, 2011

Rules of Circ #3 (RoC)

"Can You Hear Me Now?"

It's a cultural norm that libraries are relatively quiet zones, at least here in the States.  So I can forgive those who are new to public libraries, I have had to explain how the library works to several people who registered for their first library cards --- "No, it is for free (I know, I know, nothing is for free, but I don't have the time to give them the whole economics spiel)... You have to bring back the books..."  Most individuals know that it isn't "proper" to yell/talk loudly/carry a 20 minute conversation on your cell about what you had for breakfast.  Now libraries have adapted with the times; I'm sure back in the day there were signs that asked patrons to set their beepers to vibrate and now the signs ask to silence cell phones.  But who the hell am I kidding, who reads signs in the library anyways, not like any of them are into reading!??!

You still get the inconsiderate patrons who DON'T silence their ringers and who still hold loud conversations.  I will also give a temporary library pass to those not who are technologically challenged.  There are some patrons who do not know how to lower their ringer and you see them struggling with their phones pushing every single button BUT the right one.  Then when the call goes to voice mail, they look at you apologetically and mouth, "I'm sorry."  You also get those patrons who think they hit the button to lower their volume but they end up having a conversation through speakerphone for all the library to hear.

Taking your conversations to the stacks does not make the matter any better.  You cannot use the shelves as a form of sound deadening, they are not acoustically tuned to block out your incessant chattering.  It's even worse when they're blabbing on their phone while attempting to checking out.  They realize they have a fee and you're trying to explain to them what's overdue, how much is owed, when materials are due back, but they still insist on multitasking.  HANG UP THE DAMN PHONE.  A one minute transaction ends up taking 5 minutes.  Stop wasting everyone's time, I'm sure the other person on the line can live for a minute or two without the digital umbilical cord.

Ringtone context also does not matter.  I don't care if you have one of the latest "Top 50" crap they play back to back on the radio as your ringtone, no one wants to hear it in the library.  That goes the same for the "sophisticated" types with your classical ringtone in MIDI format.  No offense to Beethoven or his 5th Symphony, but your highly refined taste in music does not make it acceptable to have it blaring from the Blackberry on your hip.  Yeah, even nature ringtones are annoying, nobody enjoys the sounds of crickets... nobody.


  1. Part of the problem may also be the fact that it is trendy now to shame any library that tries to maintain any sense of decorum. After all, asking patrons to be considerate of others apparently is "anti-patron." If I had a dime for every time the Webtamer (to borrow the Annoyed Librarian's term) posted one of his infamous photos of library signage asking people to put phones on vibrate or such, I would be able to retire. Because apparently free for all is the way to go.

  2. I have a jerk on their cell phone at this very moment and she isn't paying attention to her 2-year-old running around without her shoes on. I just love patrons on cell phones.

  3. DWB,
    the library motto: "You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."

    ugh, if anyone wants to see bad parenting in person, stop by your local library.