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Library manners

How about we act like we are in a library – everywhere? Restaurants. Home Depot. The shopping mall. No matter where you are, act like you are in a library. This will make for a saner world.

Speak softly. Nobody needs to yell to be heard. You don’t have to whisper, but yelling isn’t cool. Find a middle ground.

No running. Unless you are at a track meet or are being chased by a bear, there is no reason to run inside a building.

Share – don’t act like everything belongs to you. This applies to material items, as well as the road, as well as public space, as well as at a buffet. Leave something for someone else.

Keep the space tidy. Don’t leave a mess.

There is no need for music or television noise everywhere. Silence is OK. Why do restaurants have to play music so loudly that you can’t even hear your dinner companion? Why do doctor’s offices have to have the TV on news, or talk shows, or other things that are stressful? You aren’t feeling well as is – why add to it? If people want to be distracted (if silence scares them) they can turn on their iPods and plug in their headphones. But for those who don’t want the noise, there is no escape.

Treat everybody who helps you with respect. I worked many years in retail before going to work at the library. They are very similar – but with a major difference. The same person who would be brusque with a clerk at the gas station is nothing but smiles to the library worker. I came from working at a Jo-Ann’s craft store, where I would ask people “How are you?” all day long. They’d answer, but not reciprocate and ask me how I was doing. Then I got hired at the library, and patrons initiate the question. Here’s a shocker – to do what I do only requires a high school diploma. Librarians have master’s degrees, but I’m not one. But does that mean that the public thinks that people with degrees should be treated better?

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