So begins Scott McLemee's article about rampant rudeness in academic libraries (and conferences).
Wandering the stacks, they babble away in a blithe and full-throated matter -– conversing, not with their imaginary friends (as did the occasional library-haunting weirdo of yesteryear) but rather with someone who is evidently named “Dude,” and who might, for all one knows, be roaming elsewhere in the building: an audible menace to all serious thought and scholarly endeavor.
It kills me when a student calls me "dude" or "Bro" while I'm helping him a the reference desk. It's always a him.
This situation is intolerable. It must not continue. I have given this matter long consideration, and can offer a simple and elegant solution: These people ought to be shot.
OK, maybe not shot. But seriously, we try very hard in my branch library to keep the noise level down. And you know what? I think the vast majority of students love us for it. If the noise level rises too much, if people are talking too much at a particular table, we get complaints and we ask people to keep it down. We're also proactive and try and make sure the noise level stays reasonable. I have to say, 99% of the time people we ask lower their voices are very cooperative.
Science students need quiet to study and we see it as part of our mission to be the one place on campus to provide that quiet. We've been pretty successful, I think. But at the same time, we don't get too worked up about people having quiet conversations on their cells.
The ones that drive me crazy are the pacers. You know, the guys (again, it's always guys) that talk loudly on their phones as they pace back and forth in front of the reference desk.
Update: Oh yeah, and the women (this one's mostly women) who leave their cellphones in their purses when they leave the library and when the cell goes off, everyone in the library is treated to their incredibly loud ring tone. It just happened.