Libraries are battleground. On one hand, you have the erudite learners with their heads behind a Madison Avenue of books and, on the other, the disorganised, scrabbling for the last copies of a text they desperately need, printing off their dissertations, cramming and crying.

Then there are the ones who save all their socializing for the library. It’s as if they have been saving it up all day. They sit quietly in coffee shops and say little in the bars. They wait and strain, sweating in silence. If someone asks them a question they shyly look away and mumble their reply. That is until they enter the library. There, they breathe a sigh of relief because now, for some mad reason, they can talk – heartily and with no regard for anyone trying to work.

It a stressful place, the library. So how can we avoid conflict? Here are your top annoying library behaviors:


The original mark of library scum. You do not need to utter anything more than the most basic phatic phrases. You just don’t. In extreme cases, I suppose, you can whisper. But only if it’s absolutely necessary. Whispering an Odessean epic starring you, the student union and 10 pints of snakebite to your neighbour is one of the worst offences.

Suggested punishment: In medieval times, gossiping women were forced to wear a brutish implement known as a ‘Scold’s Bridle’. It was an iron mask that traps the tongue making speech impossible. Too harsh? Nah.


This is a matter of moderation. Ok, suck a mint, chew some gum, that’s fine – it helps some people concentrate. But sit down next to me, pull out your tub of couscous, add some coleslaw, some salad, a little relish and I will gladly punch you in the face. Why will these corpulent douchebags not save their eating for the canteen?

Suggested punishment: If you cannot control your appetite long enough to do a bit of studying for your future, the privilege of having a future should be removed along with your appetite. A strict regime of Crack addiction will be implemented for all offenders.

Watching TV on your Laptop

Ok, so you’ve earned a break. You’ve studied for ten minutes or whatever your internet-destroyed attention span will allow and you decide to kick back and watch a little Youtube before getting back to work. Even with your earphones in it’s distracting. Moving pictures draw the eye towards them and, when the choice is between trying to figure out the difference between statutory extensions with modification amendments or trying to work out what some idiot is watching on Youtube, well, it’s a close run thing.

Suggested Punishment: I would suggest Youtube library watchers are filmed by their roommates doing something terribly embarrassing and tweeting it… oh, wait… isn’t that cyber bullying? I hear you can get arrested for that now… OK, just give the rapscallions a slap, just don’t tweet about it.