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The unspoken university library rules

The unspoken university library rules

The unspoken university library rules

The unspoken university library rules can be hard to understand. The library: It is a sanctuary or a prison for students. It houses all the love stories from Nuclear fusion to the film camera. To help you get to grips with library etiquette we have the top tips to keep you on top.

The early bird catches the worm

The problem with university libraries is the lack of space available. There are only a designated number of computers, desks and chairs for you to use and if you think about the thousands of students attending the university the chances of you securing a workspace is slim. The best way to secure a great spot, which could be near the toilets, the books that are your subject area or close to the exit for you to buy that coffee to keep you going, is to arrive early. Really early. A lot of students especially on campus are not ‘morning people’ so showing up before they do is a great advantage to get the best seat.

Smile at the person next to you

There isn’t a lot of personal space in libraries. The shelves are tall, full and close together to fit in all the books that can help you with your studies. The tightest areas are the workspaces for students. You will find you will only have a small desk that is next to or connected to lots of others, so you will most definitely be sitting next to someone. It may come to the time when you are daydreaming, spying on what other students are doing, or trying to keep yourself awake, and your eyes will lock onto the person next to you. Remember to smile. Smiling is very important. If you ever need to pop to the bathroom, grab some lunch or step outside for fresh air, there is an unspoken language between students which states ‘Ill watch your stuff, if you watch mine’. So keep them sweet.

Take the necessities with you

If you do stray away from the library for a quick break remember to take your essentials with you, like your mobile phone, wallet, and anything of high value or importance to you. This is just to protect yourself from your belongings being lost or stolen and you will luckily have the vital stuff with you. You can always keep your ‘spot’ by leaving your bag or coat on the desk to scare off any desk predators from taking your desk.

Plan ahead

A smart way to guarantee the books you need for your assignments or revision is to plan ahead. If you plan to write your coursework next week what books will you need? The assignment deadline is the same for everyone taking your course and there may be a chance they will need the same books as you. Take a trip to the library before you start your work to loan out the books first. The worst thing is getting to the library to find out the books you need are loaned out until three weeks after your coursework is due!

Make a note in your diary

If you do take books home a lot of universities offer an online service for renewing the due date. This way you are able to keep on track when they are due back online and escape charges or fines if you forget. Remember to check on them regularly online or write a note in your diary for when the date is. Some universities email you as a reminder which will prove extremely helpful!


If you are pulling an all-dayer or even an all-nighter at the library it is good practice to bring water and snacks to keep you going. Learn to get into the habit of taking regular breaks and to eat breakfast/lunch so you don’t burn yourself out! You will find your work harder to complete and more of a challenge if you don’t look after yourself. We only advise not bringing a three-course dinner, it can get quite messy!

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