Book Store & Library Etiquette

Yes, bookstores and libraries are comfy cozy places to hang out and lounge around and enjoy your leisure time. That does not mean you are at home. You are not in your living room or your bedroom. Thus certain things are not acceptable.

~My biggest peeve is shoes. PLEASE KEEP YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS ON!!!! If your shoes are so uncomfortable that you can’t stand having them on, then perhaps you should invest in different shoes. Nobody wants your nasty sweaty socks or bare feet all over everything. This weekend I was at B&N and one lady had her sock feet up on a coffee table. Another lady had her bare feet up on the upholstered arm-chair, while she was picking the skin from between her toes and flicking the pieces who knows where. I don’t want to sit in a chair that you just finished rubbing your athlete’s foot all over. And don’t put your feet on a table that other people put their food and drinks on. These are the types of things that make me want to be a recluse.

~Cellphone use. Yes, we all have them, for the most part. And, yes, the point of them is so that people can reach us when we are away from home. But that does not mean that you should go to a place where people typically engage in quiet activities, such as reading, studying and browsing books, and spend long intervals of time TALKING ON YOUR PHONE AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS. Especially about highly personal and inapropriate topics or using vulgar language that may be unsuitable for everyone present to hear. You are not in a sound proof booth. We can all hear you. Also if your phone plays music thru its speaker, realize that not everybody shares your taste in music. Dont walk around with your phone clipped to your belt blasting music like its your own private night club.

~Which brings me to regular conversations with who ever it is that you are with. Please use a conversational tone. No need to scream when the person you’re talking to is two feet away. I understand that I am going to hear the conversations of people sitting or standing near me. If they are speaking quietly I can easily tune them out. I respect people’s privacy and will not intentionally eavesdrop on a conversation that I am not a part of. But if your shouting and squealing and making a spectacle of yourself, its hard to ignore.  And again with the language and subject matter.

~I didnt come to catch the live show…if you know what I mean. If you need to get it on that bad, stay home, get a room, go to the drive-in, whatever. I don’t need you dry humping next to me while I’m trying to read.

~Browsing in the same aisle or sitting in the same chair grouping does not make me your friend. If I wanted a companion I would have brought one. If there are two things that don’t mix, it’s talking and reading. If I have an open book in front of my face, I am doing the latter. Also, I tend to be a very solitary person and being approached by strangers generally makes me very uncomfortable. Unlike my boyfriend who feels the need to talk to every person within hearing range of his voice. Which is why I very rarely ever take him to the book store or library with me.

~People need to respect personal space when possible. Obviously in a crowded area we can’t all stay arm’s length away from each other. But that does not mean you need to be hovering over me like a vulture on a dead carcass. If I’m looking at a shelf of books and you want to see something on that shelf, don’t press up against my back, breathing down my neck like a pervert, trying to read over my shoulder. Either wait til I’m done or say “excuse me” and I’ll step aside. This also annoys me in the checkout line when the person behind me is standing so close that I can’t move without bumping into them. It also makes me paranoid that they are trying to steal my PIN number when I’m typing it into the keypad

~Personal hygiene is everybody’s friend. Please shower before going out. You may adore the smell of ass crack and armpits, but most of us do not. There is nothing worse than curling up in a comfortable chair with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate and settling in for a long, satisfying afternoon of reading, then having someone flop down in the chair next to you, with BO so strong it makes you gag. And if that person is also someone who likes to take their shoes off…well lets not even think about that.

~The other patrons are not there to be your babysitters. If you bring children with you it is your responsibility to watch them.You are not allowed to set them loose in the building and completely ignore them while they run, scream, climb, throw things, spill stuff, jump around and harass everybody else while you sit and read or talk on your phone. Also do not allow your children to bring along toys that are excessively noisy. Like remote control cars, toy fire trucks with sirens, drums, horns, whistles, bells or squeakers. If they bring a hand-held video game, give them ear buds or make them keep the volume down.

~If you bring your laptop with you, remember that what comes out of its speakers is not contained to your ears alone. Everyone around you is forced to hear to it as well. So be mindful that listening to you shoot lasers at androids for an hour in whatever ubergeek video game your trying to level up in is probly not gonna be an enjoyable experience for anybody else but you.

~Throw away your trash when you are done. This is more a problem at books stores than libraries because a lot of bookstores tend to have cafes in them these days. If you eat or drink anything, there are barrels provided to throw away your trash. And if you spill a drink or make a lot of crumbs, clean up your mess. Dont leave a filthy area for someone else to use. The cafe people will wipe down the tables and counters in the cafe area, but not the rest of the store. I always find empty coffee cups and crumpled up napkins and sandwich wrappers all over the place, including on the bookshelves. And I don’t like picking my book up off a table and having half the back cover ripped off cuz it glued to some sticky half-congealed splotch of frappucino that I didn’t notice. Libraries don’t have as much of a problem with food trash since there is usually no eating allowed there, but of course you always have those people who ignore the rules and bring in their McDonald’s or Taco Bell, and those are usually people who also don’t clean up after themselves.

So I guess that about covers it. A lot of people will probly think I’m quite unreasonable with my expectations of how people should act. And maybe I am. But I think a lot of people are quite unreasonable in what they expect people to put up with. But of course I know the people who will be the most offended by this list will be the people who are habitually guilty of committing many of these behaviors. Unfortunately with each passing generation our society becomes more ‘me, myself and I” centered, and people just do whatever they please and think they need never consider how their actions effect others.

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6 responses

    • I like bookstores and libraries. I like being surrounded by books and the atmosphere they create. I like browsing for books in person, picking them out, flipping thru them, reading a chapter or two, before making a choice of which to buy or borrow. Its not the same experience online. Its unfortunate that there is sometimes one or two people that have to ruin things for everybody. Thankfully tho, I do not experience the type of people I described above every single time I go there, or else I might give up going all together.

      • Ha! I normally make my decision by reading the back cover. Or my brother brings a book over that he found he enjoyed. He and I have similar tastes so those are normally good, too.

        While I like perusing book stores, I find the prices of new books to be a bit high, so I do some shopping online and the rest at Half-Priced Books.

        It works for me.

  1. Great comments. Aside from the shortage of outlets, that’s the biggest complaint I have about B&N, etc.

    Speaking of personal space, I have observed people who’ve plopped down in the unoccupied chair(s) at tables where someone is already sitting. To me it’s like someone doing the same thing at a restaurant. If the place is crowded, and if I’m politely asked if I don’t mind sharing the table, I might be inclined to say sure. If I’m only asked “is anyone sitting here?” I might be inclined to lie and say “yes.” It’s truly dependent on how much privacy I want at that time. I observed someone doing that at the B&N. The guy replied “no, no one else is sitting here” and the questioner proceeded to set up shop at the table, never asking “do you mind if I share this table?”. The first guy was clearly irritated when he was asked, and only stayed there for about five minutes before he slammed his book shut and left. Body language unmistakably P.O.

  2. I used to spend time volunteering at my local library and I remember there was always this patron who would come in with terrible body odor. It seemed that he always wanted to talk to me and I had to hold my breath to keep from inhaling too much of that reeking scent until I could escape to another area.

    I think that your expectations listed here are quite reasonable. I wish more people would follow them.

  3. Pingback: Hit the Books on Library Etiquette « Etiquette with Brett

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