Whether you’re a student or a professional working on a project, you’ll almost certainly need to spend some time in the library at some point. Libraries are special places; filled with knowledge and even escapism, but they need to be treated with respect. Everyone thinks that they know how to behave, but there’s always that handful of people that cause distraction and annoyance. Take a look at these tips to make sure that’s not you!

Keep quiet

It really shouldn’t need stating, but unfortunately it still does. Whatever you’re doing while in the library, whether speaking to the librarian or taking down notes, you need to be as quiet as possible. Libraries are places where people need to concentrate, and noise can be incredibly distracting. You might think that you’re having a quiet chat with your friend down one of the aisles, but on the other side there could very easily be someone who’s being put off their work by your conversation. Be mindful of others, and avoid doing anything that might cause excessive noise. This includes things like switching off your phone before you go in, not eating food, and being careful about the volume of your headphones.

Think about your belongings

Many libraries - particularly those in universities - can be very busy at times, particularly when exams and assignment deadlines are coming up. This means that space is often at a premium. In order to be mindful of others, you need to give some thought to your belongings and the resources that you’re using. Are you using up a whole table when you only need part of it? Do you have your laptop open in front of a computer that someone else could be using? Is your bag sticking out into one of the walkways?

Respect the staff

Librarians have tough jobs. There’s a surprising amount of work required when it comes to curating, organising and maintaining the books in a library. They’re responsible for ensuring that the library works for everyone, so you need to treat them with respect. It takes more than 3000 staff to run the US Library of Congress for example, which is the largest library of books in the world. Be courteous when asking them for help, and do everything you can to make their job easier. This means not moving books to where they should not be, and returning books to the right location once you’re finished.

Return your books

Lots of libraries these days don’t even have late fees any more, and in universities and other public libraries, the fees are usually small. However, this is no reason at all to return books late. The common theme in all of our tips is that you need to think about others. If there’s a book that you need for your assignment, then there’s a good chance that several others need it too. By hanging onto the book longer than you need it, you’re making life more difficult for the library staff and anyone else who needs a copy. Only take out books when you need them, and return promptly when you’re done.

Author's Bio: 

Morgan Franklin is a freelance writer, editor and designer who works across various sectors and largely online. His work covers everything from business and politics to the environment, ethics and entertainment.