10 things you can do in the library that will
really annoy the other patrons
A library is a hallowed place of learning. There is something sacred about the space contained within their walls: it’s an almost religious atmosphere wherein the transmission of learning is not just a practical function, it’s an art.
So naturally you’ll want to disrupt that atmosphere whenever possible, and here are 10 of the best ways of doing just that. (I’ve both worked at and used libraries extensively, so I should know.)
1.) Talk on your cell phone. This drives fellow patrons absolutely bonkers. It’s worse than just chatting away to your friends in person, as somebody can come along and shush you – a phone call, however, somehow has inviolate protection that nobody wishes to compromise. You can speak a lot longer, and a lot louder, before another patron will voice their opinion of you.
2.) Leave books everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Go grab, say, ten books from the shelves, and then sit down as though you’re about to start reading them. Then, without warning, get up and leave them there. Not only will you irritate others looking to use that space, but the poor pages who have to clean up after you.
3.) Rearrange the books on the shelves. The reorganization needn’t be drastic; just take a book from the bottom and put it on the top. Searchers will fly into a tizzy trying to get that book, and complaints will abound.
4.) Read aloud to yourself. It’s a quiet workspace, so any noise is likely to annoy. The first time you get somebody telling you to be quiet, apologize and say you do it without realizing. This not only excuses your actions but shames the shushers who thought you were doing it on purpose. (Which you are. But they don’t know that!)
5.) Argue over late fees at the check out desk. I’ve seen grown men with cars and families and tons of money quibble over a $2 late fee that they’re entirely responsible for. Doing this will lower the community’s respect for you in general, not to mention hold up the line.
6.) Linger after closing time. Some patrons just won’t leave. Be one of them. Refuse to leave until you find that one book you’re looking for – whether it exists at the library or not.
7.) Hog the computers. Most libraries now have Internet-ready machines, but they’re few and far between. Take advantage of their scarcity by bringing in a bunch of friends and keeping every last one of them occupied – and, in doing so, make sure that you’re not being at all productive on them.
8.) Steal the pencils from beside the catalog computers. For that matter, take all the slips of scrap paper, too. Patrons have no memory for Dewey Decimal coding and so will be absolutely dumbfounded when it comes to tracking down their books without the code written down.
9.) Bring in a child. Preferably a fussy one who’s incapable of shutting up. There’s no bigger distraction in a quiet library than a bawling kid.
10.) Pretend to fall asleep in your chair, then lean back and start snoring as loudly as you can. Library patrons are, on the whole, extremely polite people who prefer not to point out the foibles of others. Take advantage of that generous nature and force those around you to move rather than wake you up.
Anything that disrupts the quiet of the library is more than sufficient to annoy other patrons. Experiment! Do everything you can to bring your reputation down to the lowest levels possible. Soon your library card will be revoked and your picture posted in all the windows, and that, my friend, will be a glorious day indeed.