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» Use » Dos & Don'ts

Dos & Don'ts

Library etiquette

Shed some layers
Get rid of extra baggage – leave your coat and your bag(s) in the cloakroom free of charge. For you, this means that library use becomes easier and more comfortable. For us, this means that there’ll be no need to check your bags – an embarrassing, time-consuming and usually unnecessary procedure to which we would otherwise be obliged.

Animal instincts
Even if your pet wouldn’t hurt a fly – there are people who will interpret even your darling’s most harmless smile as a frightening snarl. And although you know that your pet is extraordinarily clever – rest assured that he or she wouldn’t really enjoy any of the items we have on offer, not even "Animal Farm". For this reason, please refrain from bringing your four-, three- or otherwise-legged friend into the library. This rule also applies to the foyer and the cloakroom, which are simply not equipped for animal use. Please don’t try to persuade our cloakroom staff to watch your pet while you use the library – they are not trained pet sitters and, though they might well have the inclination, they certainly won’t have the time to put their love of animals to the test.  

Once you’re inside…
There is surely no need to explain why eating, drinking, and smoking is not allowed in the library – but we’ll do it anyway: We try to offer items that are complete, clean, and in sound condition. To help us preserve the longevity and intactness of our items is thus not only decent manners, but also in your own best interest. This also applies to how you handle the items in your own home – using CDs as table coasters and cheese rinds as bookmarks or reading books in the bath all affect the condition of our items, thus making them less pleasant to use. Ultimately, this sort of thing might lead to their early retirement or even demise.

Before you leave
You’ve surely heard the story of the guy who thought that he was buying a brand-new, originally sealed CD player on the black market in Naples – only to find himself unwrapping a large brick back home. Try to avoid this sort of thing when borrowing from your library – make sure you check your items for completeness before taking them home: check if all the components and necessary bits are there and if there is any visible damage. This will also prevent us from asking unpleasant questions about the coffee stains in the coffee-table book you are returning or the whereabouts of a certain CD booklet – and from asking you to pay for the damage.

Remember your ABC
We try our best every day to restore alphabetical order on our shelves. Please don’t test us on whether we are also able to find items that have been put in the wrong place. And even if you think you have come up with a new, brilliant order system, chances are we’ll disagree. If you can’t remember exactly where you got a certain item from or if you struggle with your ABC, please hand the item to a librarian or leave it on one of the desks. And if you’re one of those people who like to wall themselves in with their assorted material while doing research, please don’t forget to "tear down" the wall when you have finished.   

Check, check, and double-check
Please don’t test our alarm system – we can assure you that it is a) switched on, and b) that it works just as well as other standard systems of this sort. So please make sure that all the items you would like to take home with you have been registered on you library card. And before exiting, don’t forget to check the large inside pocket of your coat (which you forgot to leave in the cloakroom) just one more time, just to make sure that something didn’t slip in by accident…. but we’re sure that you’re not that kind of person.   

Peace and quiet
In a library, only a silent mobile phone is a good mobile phone. This is true both with regard to the irritating ringtones that were composed for the "enjoyment" of those who can’t help having to listen to them, and to the irresistible urge to shout when talking on a mobile phone.  So please, if you really have to use your mobile phone in the library, stick to playing games with the sound off or to sending or receiving text messages, again with the sound off ("…on page 824 now / 198 pages left, will finish them b4 leaving" or other essential messages of this sort). If you are not sure how to switch your phone on silent or simply cannot bear to leave incoming calls unanswered, please switch it off before entering the library. If you make loud phone calls in the library, you will be asked to stop in no uncertain terms (and get a lot of dirty looks to boot). The same is true for shouted conversations between the shelves ("Hey---are there as many books with "K" in the title under "S" as there are here where I am, under "B"?). Lots of people visit libraries because their home environment is pretty noisy. Let’s try our best to let them read or study in peace and quiet.

Children in the library
We have already explained to you why you can’t hand over your pets to the cloakroom – the same is true for kids. Neither the cloakroom nor the children’s section are intended as childcare institutions. Our children’s librarians have neither the training nor the time for child minding duties – and searching all over the library for adults who have gone AWOL is also not their idea of fun. The purpose of the children’s section is for kids to learn how to handle books and other media – accompanied by an adult. In this, our children’s librarians will be more than happy to assist you.

At the end of the day
There are of course lots of reasons why you might not be ready to leave the library at closing time, and we would like to know them all – but not before the following day. What we’re trying to say is this – please leave the library at the time specified. If you’d like to chat to a librarian, please do so during our opening hours and don’t procrastinate until you’re asked to leave. Bear in mind that, for our staff, closing time does not equal knocking-off time. They still have to clear up, switch off the lights, and enjoy the quiet after the crowds have left.

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