1) Thou shalt not leave your possessions unattended at a table for more than 15 minutes.
Unless you got hit by a bus when you were going outside to make a phone call and are in an ambulance on your way to the emergency room, make sure your crap isn’t just sitting there without you. First off, it’s in poor taste, especially during finals when people are looking for places to study after realizing the bros on their floor are going to rage on like it’s the first week of classes. Secondly, you’re risking getting your laptop, iPod, books, notes, food, bag/purse, etc. stolen.
2) Thou shalt not have long, drawn out conversations in whisper form.
Honestly, you’re better off just talking in your normal tone of voice, because excessive whispering is about as grating on the ears as nails on a chalkboard. If whatever you have to say is so important that you can’t text/instant message each other, take it to the lobby or outside.
3) Thou shalt control your restless leg syndrome if seated with other people.
That earthquake that may be easing your exam anxieties is only making it harder for the rest of us to remember the difference between Hegel and Marx. Try changing how you’re seated or at least move to a single-person desk.
4) Thou shalt not consume loud snacks in the quiet area.
If you’re school has become more liberal and less stodgy, it’s possible that a section of the library allows you to eat and drink. However, your chip bags crinkling, your bubble gum blowing, and your loud chewing will cause everyone in your immediate vicinity to throw you dirty looks. You’re food consumption should not be so loud that several people can hear it while having earphones in their ears.
5) Thou shalt put your Goddamn phone on silent.
If you’re expecting a million phone calls on a given day, you probably shouldn’t be studying in the library in the first place. Libraries are supposed to be quiet places, and no one wants to hear your annoying ring tone or text message tone. Putting your phone on vibrate can be even worse, especially if you leave it on the table. The five people sitting nearest to you will jump, and one will spill their beverage onto their laptop. That will be on you, and you will receive negative vibes from this person for the rest of your college career.
6) Thou shalt keep your music down.
Earphones were invented to keep your music and other sounds from your computer/iPod in YOUR ears. Do a check, be courteous, and ask if your neighbors can hear your music. Also, if someone asks you to turn your music down, don’t be a jerk and turn it down for a bit and then turn it up again.
7) Thou shalt bathe, especially during finals.
They’re just tests. Sacrificing your hygiene will not help you get a better grade. In fact, you’ll probably get sick and fail everything. Fact.
8) Thou shan’t talk to yourself.
If this is how you study or think, then you probably should not be studying in a library. Go to a cafe and provide people-watchers with some amusement.
9) Thou shalt respect the space.
The Kindergartners I teach on Fridays do a better job of this than most college students I know. The library is not your dorm room, no matter how many hours you spend there. Pick up your crumpled papers, chewed gum, Red Bull cans, and used tissues. Seriously. You’ll just make people want you to fail.
10) Thou shalt write intelligent things inside of library books.
If you’re going to go through the trouble of defacing a library book with your chicken scratch, make sure it’s something useful for the next person. A list of books to cross-reference, insightful margin notes, artistic doodles, and the phone number for a good Chinese restaurant are all useful. Any English major will punch you hard if you handwrite “American Dream” into the margins of The Great Gatsby.