Camilla Jenkins Investigates: The library

For reasons I can’t quite remember, I found myself in the super-silent bit of the library at about 11:00pm. You know the one. There, I came across a pyjama-clad boy, curled up in the corner, frantically clutching Kant’s Critique of Pratical Reason, tear marks staining his face.

This is just the beginning. With deadline season rapidly a-coming, campus’ aggregate stress levels are becoming palatable. York has engaged in their version of battening down the hatches; additional counsellors have been employed and Lucozade is back on offer at YourShop. Nightline is on high alert.

The Reading Room is pretty much jam-packed from 10:00am onwards. People start employing what I like to call the German sun lounger technique; turning up pre-9:15 to dump all non-essential, non-valuable stuff at a spot and don’t return until after lunch. Effective? Sure. Ethical? Not at all.

We all accept that a certain amount of crazy goes on during exam season. It’s not unusual to see the odd girl sobbing into her boyfriend’s arms (“I just tried so hard. I caaaaaan’t doooo it”) or the slacker from your philosophy seminar wandering round, begging someone, anyone to explain how to access the VLE.

Whilst the stress gets to all of us, the guy subtly swigging from a can of Strongbow in the Economics section was possibly taking it a bit far. Drink is never the way my friend. Go to the Courtyard, for God’s sake. Or perhaps an AA meeting?

There comes a point at which it’s probably more effective to leave the comforting womb of J.B. Morrell and have a couple hours to yourselves. An NHS website, stress relieving section, informs me that a long walk is very soothing or perhaps a nice bath?

Which brings me to my second point about library behavior. What was the girl who I saw practically taking a bath in the loos the other week thinking? Washing your face is understandable and your hands admirable, but I’m not sure anyone needs to see you half-naked and dripping when they just want to fill up their water bottle. Take up membership at the University gym if you’re that desperate for a shower. I hear the Alcuin freshers are friendly as well.

Oh but it gets so much worse. People who take phone calls in the library drive me bonkers. You may be whispering but we can all hear you. Melissa’s love life and did she do that thing she does with her leg does not interest me or anyone else. Go outside.

This is the thing about the library. You’re there to work as is everyone else. If you’re not then bugger off and go and have some fun where more normal noise levels are acceptable. Pretending to work but really flitting around concreting your social circle is pointless for you and disruptive for everyone else.

Our library may be moving into the 21st century but the computer resources are not. These desktops are a scarce and in demand resource. Treat them with respect. Share. Don’t be the guy you uses them to watch the Six Nations. Or Seven Nations. Or whatever Roz says its called. No one likes that guy. All the girls think he’s kind of a douche.

I hate to go all Emily Post on your ass but I do it with the best intentions. The closer we get to the Summer Term, the more highly strung the Third Years get. You young ‘uns should be aware because we could snap at any second. This etiquette guide is more of a public service announcement, really.

Besides, all those not subdued with the first point can rest assured that there will come a time, soon, when someone discovers me, on the phone, hogging a computer by repeatedly watching Seaworld YouTube videos in an attempt to regain the will to live. They’ll brandish this article at me angrily. I’ll get my comeuppance. Just you wait and see.