Uni Life

The Unwritten Rules of Library Etiquette

Michaela Wagland explores the importance of respecting others whilst studying in the library. 

The end of Semester One 2016 is nearly upon us. It is quite possibly one of the most frightening thoughts to ponder. It is also extremely exciting.

Although we are consumed by the delightful thought that only a hop, skip, a few assessments and exams and a jump later and we will be free from the academic life (for a little while), we are not quite there yet.

As the intensity begins to flare and our stress levels reach unimaginable heights, it is essential to remember that every student is sailing in similar boats. So having consideration and being respectful of others whilst studying within public spaces on campus is pretty crucial.

This is extremely applicable to our library spaces. So here at Yak, we thought it would be of great importance to explore the ‘unofficial’ etiquette of the UoN libraries.

Let’s begin with Callaghan Campus. Oh the hours that have been spent by students within the walls of Auchmuty, Huxley and City. If walls could talk…

Library staff member Jacqui Harris expresses some vital considerations to be mindful of when in the domain of library etiquette:

  • Remaining silent whilst in the silent zones: “A lot of people come in and play games, so they are clicking really loud and really fast. This is a big issue and people don’t like it.”
  • Booking study rooms: “So the library rules are if you are 10 minutes late to your booking, you forfeit the booking. You’re allowed to use the rooms if there is no booking on them for that hour but as soon as the people with the booking turn up you need to leave. A lot of people will try and swoop in on other people’s study groups and it can get pretty nasty in this stage of semester. There have been a couple of altercations like that.”
  • Consider your food choices – “I get a lot of complaints about strong smelling foods like banana or anything with garlic. Things that people find difficult to watch other people eat.”
  • Don’t take a print job that is not your own – “Stealing other people’s print job has actually happened, you’d be surprised. Like if someone prints out something and they notice that they are really good notes… People just pocket the notes, people have done that before.”
  • Leaving the library at the closing time – “People do that, they won’t leave. If it is 10 at night and the staff wants to get home, you’re actually holding them up. So it’s quite rude. We do have 3 announcements telling people we are leaving. Some people have said, I’m leaving at 10 on the dot…10 on the dot is when the doors are locked and the lights are off. It can be quite confrontational. We don’t want to mess up your night or anything but the library has to close.”


Rover for the Ourimbah Campus library, Jaclyn Muscio had some interesting insights into the irritating things that people do in the library.

“Not putting cover sheets they don’t want into clearly labeled boxes across from the printers. This paper is recycled and creates a mess when left all over the library. Students that talk loudly for an extended period of time in silent zones. Not putting rubbish in the bin such as half-drunk coffee or banana bread wrappers.”

The definition of etiquette is utilised quite loosely by some it would seem.

“You see a lot of people sleeping, there are a lot of ‘sleeping spaces’. People will go up the back of reading room 2 to where it is really silent. They’ll go for a sleep in the study rooms”, Jacqui explains about Callaghan libraries.

“At City, which is less populated than Auchmuty, you’ll find that people will go into the study rooms and sleep on the couches and do other things on the couches. That has happened. That has happened quite a lot, I’ve got a lot of stories about that.”

Abby Holloway, a student at Ourimbah Campus shared similar experiences.

“People being overly ‘touchy-feely’ toward each other. People ordering pizza to be delivered to the library.”

Their lists continue.

Whilst studying in public spaces such as the libraries, upholding a level of awareness of those around you is principal, wouldn’t you agree? Even within the down periods of semester, the library can sometimes be an escape from the distractions that are purely better than study and difficult to ignore (Why did Game of Thrones have to come out now?!)

Even the smallest actions, as Abby explains, “not spreading out their belongings to take up more space than needed”, can make the world of difference for another student’s study period.

Because let’s be honest, study is not enjoyable. Not one little bit.

But on this home stretch to freedom, we just want to complete our study, our assessments and our exams. So having just a small scoop of consideration whilst studying in the library is more than wonderful.

Jacqui Harris gave us a quick rundown on who to speak to depending on what you need in the Library.

Library Staff – “We can help you with anything general basically. We can help you with printing and we can help you with computers, to an extent. We can’t fix every problem but if you are having a printing connection or something like that, we can definitely help you out. We also know all the student systems so if you are having trouble we can help point you in the right direction. We can help you find books and anything with returning or borrowing, or any issue like that.”

Librarians – “If you need more specialised help, like referencing, if you are looking for in depth database searching or help with an assignment, you’re going to be talking to one of the librarians. They are there to help with research and learning in terms of that sort of stuff.”

Rovers (24/7 Student Workers) – Jaclyn Muscio explains, “Anything computer related (eg. Software, login, internet) and all other IT issues see the Rover service team.” They have also been trained on library staff skills.

Best of luck to all in the weeks to come.


For all information relating to the libraries including times, go to UoN Library.


Image Sourced: Tom Brockley, Flickr, no changes made 


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