Monday, 27 April 2009

Library Etiquette

Don't yawn, I'm not going to chat about not pulling books out by their spines, or not folding the corners of the pages over. No,no, in this day and age of technology wizardry a whole new kind of library etiquette comes into play, and it's all about personal space.

The computer clusters of our library aren't the most pleasant places. Especially not the underground ones. They smell like a hot, slightly clammy mixture of rotting food and student-clothes musk and of people who've been sat in a place that smells of that for too long. I'm fortunate enough to have my own computer, and therefore only occasionally have to use them.

I appreciate many people are not as lucky, and rely upon the university's thousands of computers to do their work. No biggie. However, the university does not provide you with your own personal desk in such clusters, contrary to what the 'Your Space' area may suggest.

I'm not a personal space freak. I like hugs, affection etc. I don't even get hugely bothered when someone's armpit comes into contact with your face on the tube on a day in June. It's not pleasant, but nobody's died.

However, there is a minute gap between two computer desks for a reason, and it should represent the acceptable amount of space between two strangers. Therefore, to swivel the chair round so that your foot, knee, thigh and crotch are all on my side of the gap is somewhat awkward.

I only noticed this breach of library etiquette after several other breaches by the same criminal had been made:
1. Loud finger tapping.
2. Large long hair/upper body swishing.
3. Anchorman-style paper shuffling.
4. WEIRD bubble-making mouth noises.

All of the above were very, very loud. What's more, so engrossed was my neighbour in Cesar's Gallic command (his paper was that close to the keyboard) that he had no idea I was staring at him pointedly for about 45 seconds.

Then I realised the reason behind the unacceptable invasion of the desk gap - his side of the desk was taken up with banana skins, apple cores, a giant button packet and a bottle of lucozade. Mate, IT'S NOT YOUR PERSONAL DESK. Makes me feel a little icky inside...had my keyboard too been tainted with the fruity saliva of another person's apple core?! Even on my own personal desk I've only got an empty chocolate bar wrapper and some moisturiser amongst books.

Either I'm massively anally retarded about cleanliness, which, seeing as I haven't washed my hair for half a week I doubt, or there needs to be new library etiquette lessons. Is this a habit sweeping the nation?

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