Tag Archives: cell phone etiquette

Dealing With Chatty Cathy

Hello fair readers!

As some of you know I am in the process of doing a little research about cell phones in libraries.

taken by the Travelin Librarian

taken by the Travelin' Librarian

If you are a library worker, please feel free to take my survey

But since I’m still in the process of collecting and analyzing my data, I thought I would share a couple of extremely intersting answers to my questions!  A little update of sorts!

For those who have already taken the survey, you will know there are several open ended questions.  One being

What is your library’s policy, if any, on cellphone use in the library?

Here are some interesting answers:

“Go out in the frigging hall”

“Cell phones not permitted on the 2nd floor (Reference Area). Cell phone permitted on lower level (Circulation), in Multimedia, and in Youth Services. So pretty much, it’s ok everywhere but Reference and Readers Advisory/Fiction. We have REALLY scary signs everywhere that say “NO CELL PHONE USE!!!” on all the study tables. This scares me.lol.”

“We ask readers to leave the reading rooms and take phone calls in “common” areas like hallways, staircases or the lobby. We allow study-use-only cellphone camera photography if readers cite in writing the collection materials they are photographing. We don’t prohibit or even monitor texting or other cellphone usage, provided that readers aren’t disturbing others.”

“We shall chop the heads off of people who use them. With a rusty fork.”


“We recently re-evaluated our “procedures” for handling disruptive patrons. We have not “policy” per se, other than our standard patron conduct policy – as long as you’re not distracting others or being disruptive, feel free to conduct your approved library business. However, prior to this paradigm shift, we had dozens of “no cell phones” signs all over the building.”

A very common theme among respondents was something similar to this:

“no policy” or “I don’t believe we have an official policy”.

Another question that gathered some thought provoking responses was the optional question at the end of the survey:

Do you have any other passions/comments/ethical issues that you would like to add about the usage of cellphones in libraries?

ready for it?

“It is frustrating dealing with patrons who insist on taking calls in the library. It is distracting to other users especially since my library is a small space. Additionally it is a privacy issue. Staff and other patrons DO NOT want to hear other people’s business…”

“My dream is that public places (libraries included) would bring back phone booths/rooms for customers to get a little privacy.”

“The camera phone feature is the only issue and that is true in or out of a library. What are people taking pictures of, how are the photos being used, etc. Not a problem for us but something to keep in mind.”

Both of these comments make a really interesting points about privacy! Something librarians love, right?

Here are some flipside opinions:

“It is wrong to asked patrons to not use their cell phones in a public library. Case in point, a parent was waiting for a call from their teen so they could be picked up. Should not allow the parent to answer a call from their teen… Get over it. Join the 21st Century.”

“i feel very strongly about this. i sort of hate monitoring cell phone usage (and we only monitor talking/loud ringing. i could care less whether people are texting, using the internet, etc. on their phones). i think that libraries should make policies addressing the behavior rather than the technology…”

What I’m finding the most fascinating issue with this research is that very few people are in the middle.  Most people feel strongly one way or another.  Like this person for example: “I don’t know why it’s not common sense not to use a cell phone in a library, but where I work it’s a “students tell you to jump, we ask how high” sort of environment.”

So my next step is going to be surveying library users about their opinions on cell phones in libraries.  More cell phone postings to come! I promise.  And again, if you are a librarian and haven’t taken my survey yet…..

feel free to participate!

I love this sign.

Have a lovely week fair readers!