Thursday, September 07, 2006

Library Etiquette: Hogging of table & seat

[Opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Library Board]

A reader of my blog (let's call him/ her "J") alerted me to this discussion thread in 'J' asked for my views "regarding people doing this in the library" and also on "the library's stand with regards to this issue".

(Source of image:

I advised 'J' that anyone who wishes to obtain an official comment for any library-related matter could contact the library -- try this online contact form via the NLB website. As per organisational policy, I am not in any capacity to provide any official comment on library policy. However, I shared with 'J' my personal opinions on the matter. I've expanded my reply here, as well as comments on the forum discussion itself:

Leaving one's belongings on the table and going off for an extended period of time -- that's clearly being inconsiderate to others. Period.

Perhaps the person(s) who reserved the items in that manner did not do it out of malice. It might be a case of not being mindful of the feelings of our actions upon others. But that's precisely the meaning of being inconsiderate.

That person(s) risk their belongings being stolen (if I'm not mistaken, there's a MP3 player at the bottom right of the picture). And they won't be able to fault anyone other than themselves for leaving their belongings unattended. As the police slogan once went, "Low crime does not mean no crime".

There's a remark in the forum calling the culprits "Ch** B** Kias" (let's just say it's like calling you a 4-letter word). I feel namecalling is uncalled for. Highlighting the issue in a public forum is OK but being uncouth and rude doesn't solve anything. It would only make matters worse.

For anyone who really feel strongly about the uncivic behaviour in libraries, well be an advocate for the library. Not through rude name-calling or verbal attacks in forums, but through engagement and dialogue. Sometimes, just pointing out the issue is all we can do for the time being.

Maybe the longer term solution is for the more civic -minded students to try and educate their fellow students in schools. E.g. public discussions during school assemblies, student-led forums, class discussions, awareness campaigns etc. If any student or teacher is reading this and would like to try this out, I'd be more than happy to work with you on this.

Oh, finally, there was this particular post in the thread that I found quite funny (quoted here verbatim):
Last time when me and my friend went to the library while finding seats. the librarian told us his getting a seat for us and we are wondering how. Then he suddenly bring in the "Holy Transparent Box" and throw everything on the table into the box!, all of us was shock.

Then they write something on a piece of paper. i went to look at it and it says "please call XXXXXXXXX (a number) to redeem your belongings".

Pretty cool huh

And in the thread there was this clarification about the "Holy Transparent Box":
A transparent box, just a normal cube, there was sun light shining through it tat time, and that box saves us

Now I don't know if it was really a "librarian" who carried out the said act. Or whether it was really done at all. As I said, you can write in to the library to clarify. But LOL - "Holy Transparent Box" indeed!

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  1. Hi Ivan
    I went to the NLB website and discovered that there aren't any wireless surfing in the libraries. =(
    Do you reckon that there'll be any in the future?

  2. Hi SeaLs, there's already is wireless surfing available in libraries (via 3rd party service provider, so charges may apply). If you write in to NLB (via the Contact Us link at the website), you can seek advice on the current list of locations with wireless surfing.

  3. Anonymous4:28 pm

    And there is free surfing at NLB Bugis, just that it's slow. :)


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