Libraries have changed a great deal over the years and most of these changes have improved them. However, I was made aware of one change the other day which did not improve my library experience. A woman was quite comfortable about having a long and loud conversation on her mobile phone. I found it distracting and dare I say, rude. It was something that would never have happened back when talking in a library was frowned upon.
I love libraries. I always have, even as a young child.read more
When I was in Grade 3 I transferred from a small country school to one which was quite a bit bigger and it had, drum roll please, a library. There was a whole room and it was a very big room lined with tall shelves filled with books. If you brought along a fabric bag with your name on it you could choose a book and borrow it. This was very exciting for me.
Now, that library was a place where you had to keep quiet. It was permissible to whisper to the teacher if you needed help finding a book or had to ask permission to go to the toilet. However,you did not have a conversation with your friend. The rule was drilled into us, a library is a place of quiet, people are reading.
These days things are different. Librarians read books to pre schoolers and may have a singing session. In bigger modern libraries this will happen in a separate room. Where the facilities are more basic it will be in a corner somewhere so people who are reading aren't disturbed too much.
I am okay with this type of activity and I also feel a talk from a visiting author or an authority on a specific topic fits with the purpose of a modern library.
However, I don't think the library is the place for a long loud chin wag to your mate on your mobile. I'm not going to say mobiles should be banned from libraries. I get that sometimes you may have been waiting days for a particular call and not want to miss it. I also realise parents and carers need to be contactable by phone in emergencies. However, as long as you are able to walk independently I feel it is polite to answer your phone and either quickly deal with the issue or move to an area where you won't disturb others.
I have read rants from numerous library-lovers who agree with me the library is not the place to have a long and loud conversation on your phone. I mean, what if people were trying to read in the library?