Saturday, April 5, 2014

Atypical (Real) Rules for Library Conduct

While volunteering at the library, I sometimes pause to look at what's posted on the walls. I've noticed a calendar of events, as well as artwork by local artists. I've also caught sight of a sign that spells out what behavior isn't OK in the library, for instance, smoking, petitioning on the premises, roller skating. These rules seem typical. However, in other libraries, rules for patron conduct are quite atypical.

Mental Floss has rounded up "9 Very Specific Rules from Real Libraries," and some of these library rules are indeed unusual. But rules generally are made for a reason, and it's amusing to think about what could have been the incident that caused management at these particular libraries to put their foot down. In the case of the public library housed in Goodnow Hall, which is in a hilly, woodsy area of western Massachusetts, it's not hard to guess how this sign came about:
Image via Mental Floss via Rock Creek on Flickr

Yet in the Yonkers Public Library in Yonkers, New York, one has to wonder if one too many kids have come in carrying balloons that inevitably burst, nearly scaring the life out of older patrons and/or library staff, and thus warranting this sign:
Image via Mental Floss via Scouting New York

I'm wondering: how could kids bringing balloons into the library become a common enough occurrence for library management to put up the sign to begin with? Is there a carnival across the street? A party supplies store next door? A clown on the corner giving away balloons? The mind reels. (For the record, I have yet to see a kid or parent bring a balloon into the library where I volunteer, and I've been there for months. So what's going on in Yonkers, New York?)

But I must say say that this sign, posted in a library at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is completely understandable:
Image via Mental Floss via LibraryKitty on Flickr

It's nice that patrons want to be helpful. (The other day, I was tickled watching a toddler return books to a shelf in the children's section. It was clear that the kid, who couldn't have been no more than two years old, knew the general area where she - or her caretaker - got the books from. But of course, she didn't quite know where they should go. I thought it was adorable that she made the effort, and I was happy to reshelve them.) But reshelving books is what I and other library volunteers and staff are there for, among other things. Leave it up to us. 

For all "9 Very Specific Rules from Real Libraries," see the Mental Floss link HERE.

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