I know your struggle. Hours in depressing little cubicles; debating the risk of leaving your laptop to pee due to that third cup of coffee; possibly being squished to death in the moving bookshelves. Everyone can relate. But there are some habits I’ve noticed in the library to be a bit more quirky. Not even the advertised Tufts quirk (I can study chemistry while pursuing interpretive dance and then watch a Disney movie marathon in the basement of a frat house on the weekends!), but just odd behavior. Let me share a few anecdotes to expound on these unique library dwellers.
One thing I’ve noticed is that some people seem to forget that the library is a public space. I can empathize with this, though, as putting your music on and going to town on an essay can create the illusion of isolated solitude. But it’s not, friends. As I write this in the library, there’s a fellow nearby picking at his nose like there’s no tomorrow. No bats allowed in that cave. And last week, I am almost certain there was someone watching an adult video across the room. But worst of all are the barefooters. If your feet are socked and odorless, go crazy with the naturalist approach. But if the area around you starts to smell faintly of fetid Brie and causes sporadic dry heaving, put those Uggs back on, please.
Another commonplace situation is the awkward locking of eyes. Now, there are two very distinct types of gazing. The first is the innocent, accidental eye lock. Both parties are faultless. Gazes meet, you shudder silently in horror and eyes fly away. But a complete 180 degrees over are the deliberate stares. Even after the initial accidental gaze, this person remains consistent. You start to question if there is something wrong with you. Perhaps your pants flew off in some sort of extreme studying conniption or your nips are showing through your shirt again. Once you confirm that you are not, in fact, reading in just your skivvies, the creepiness sets in. Unless the person is admiring your beauty. Still kind of creepy though. So no to prolonged staring, but sneak a peek in if you need to.
The oddly vocal and noisy people in the designated quiet areas of the library are also habitual violators of studying etiquette. Please do not Skype grammy or call up your friend for an hour and a half in between your studying breaks. And music levels. Obviously, many people enjoy working along with music, which is a great and often essential tool for increasing productivity. But make sure that it’s only you who can hear the music through your earbuds, not everyone in your periphery. I listened to an entire Black Eyed Peas album the other day involuntarily through my library neighbor. I tried not to judge, but I lost it when “I Gotta Feeling” (2009) came on for the second time.
But perhaps the worst type of library attender is the hogger, responsible for personally victimizing nearly everyone. It’s finals week, and every table is jam-packed. You roam around the library in a nomadic fashion, hoping for a place to set up camp. And then the infamous hogger appears. Planted at a table intended for four people, it’s been claimed entirely for himself, with books and papers galore spread across the table. Trying to sit down means losing a limb, as hoggers are extremely territorial with their space. You’ll just have to give an award-winning stank eye instead, and hope the message is received: sharing means caring, you selfish mofo.
So just consider these rules when you’re in the library. If you want to go wild, your room may be a better choice. Underwear studying is acceptable there.