Library employees are people, too.
This article was originally published with The Odyssey on July 17, 2017.
I’ve worked at a library for the past four years, and every time I think I’ve seen it all, some library patron comes out of the blue and proves me wrong. Libraries and their employees should not be taken for granted. We are here to help you, not serve you. Here are the top 10 ways to be a better and more respectful library patron.
1. Have your library card or identification on you.
2. Don’t be that person that comes in five minutes before closing.
Come in tomorrow and we’ll help you with a nicer tone and we will have more time to dedicate to you.
3. Know what you’re looking for.
Have a title or author, please. The description of the book is not enough information for us to locate it.
4. If there’s a problem with your account, don’t talk down to us.
You are more likely to rattle the employee and their nerves instead of resolving anything. Also, be willing to compromise.
5. Know the library policies.
Know when we fine you, where you can eat, and what areas of the library are off limits. Stop acting shocked when you get fined for an item that was extremely late and or lost.
6. Don’t compare the library you’re at to any other library.
You are where you are. Not all libraries operate the same. Different places have different regulations and you have to follow those regulations, whether the other library has them or not.
7. Parents: Computers aren’t babysitters.
Neither are library staff. Watch your children or take them with you.
8. If your child is throwing a tantrum, leave the premises.
Attempting to calm them down is giving everyone a headache, including the other patrons. You can let your child “feel emotions” outside.
9. Do not use your phone while speaking to staff.
This is common decency.
10. Clean up after yourself.
The library is a privilege, not a right. Many libraries don’t allow eating in certain areas, but if you’re going to break the rules, at least clean up after yourself. We have a million other things to do at closing time when we don’t have to clean up your mess.
11. What happens at the library, stays at the library.
Any problems you have with the library, don’t bring them up outside of the library. Library staff who are off duty want nothing to do with you.