Monday, April 28, 2008

Library etiquette

Lon Ponshock hears that ringing sound and unfortunately it's not tinnitus. It's a cell phone in the library:

Now fast forward to the library situation in which a normally quiet place, where ideas are shared, is now occupied by the repeated and insistent ring tones, followed by an inane conversation about sanitary products or some other tripe. And this in an abnormally loud voice to get through bad connections, accompanied by a little self- performance so that everyone knows the reply about this or that is 'critical.'

The rude will take advantage of a situation if not confronted. The rude understand obsequiousness, and they know they can push their luck as far as it will take them. The result is that library staff must take damage control measures-- putting out the fires of cell phone abuse which are either reported or observed-- rather than making a policy of preventive maintenance whereby the problem does not get out of control in the first place.

Had I known the Appleton library had no policy on cell phones in the library, I might have avoided some embarrassment.

Still, there is definitely something uncivilized about a cell phone conversation in the middle of a library. Where I was embarrassed about receiving an emergency call, I doubt many people are, especially those younger than me.

Of course, perhaps I'm immune to embarrassment. I was somewhat bemused to see that someone visited my site after a search for, "underwear in library." I would imagine, but cannot swear, that most libraries have a policy of appearing in only your underwear. Please don't report back on your experiences.