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Top Ten List of Things Not to do When at the Library

Here is the Sixteenth installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy. This list was put together at the request of Minion Leader Ionia Martin at

10.  When at the library, refrain from using the stacks in the archived periodicals section to conduct an amorous liaison.  While you may think that few if any people browse those stacks, chances are there will be at least one lonely doctoral student who will trip over you while you are in flagrante delicto with the potential of causing all of you great distress.

9.  When at the library, do not try to sneak in food and drink from anywhere, much less a fast food restaurant.  Libraries prohibit food and drink as it is, but the aroma (or odor) of greasy burgers and fries will likely draw a size-able crowd of children to your table, all of whom will want a bite of your lunch or, if gone, you.

8.  When at the library, do not try the patience of the reference librarian by asking questions like, “So, who first discovered drinking milk from a cow?” At best, the librarian will simply point you to the stacks on animal husbandry.  At worst, the librarian will pull out a cattle prod and demonstrate its use … on you.

7.  When at the library, do not think it is okay to talk loudly on your cellphone just because you found a “quiet” corner away from other patrons.  Sound carries and it is the mission of every librarian to ensure a quiet place for study.  You may get to finish your call before they find you, but it will be the last call you ever make in that library once the librarians are done with you and possibly your firstborn as well.

6.  When at the library, do not use library staff as free babysitters.  No matter how adorable your children might be, it is not the purpose nor necessarily the desire for librarians to break up squabbles between 3-year-old twins, assist your two-year-old to the toilet for a lesson in potty training, or chase after the 5-year-old boy who insists on running through the stacks to burn off the high sugary breakfast you gave him that morning.  The next time you show up to drop off your kids, the librarians might (literally) rope you into a game of dancing around the May Pole, with you as the pole.

5.  When at the library, do not commandeer the computers in the children’s section.  Just because these interactive computer games weren’t available when you were young (much less computers) doesn’t mean that you can push kids out of their chairs and take over the computer.  At best, the children will sulkily go away to another room.  At worst, the children will return with both parents (one of whom is a professional wrestler) and the head librarian in tow and you will quickly find yourself bouncing down the library steps on your bum.

4.  When at the library, do not think anyone would think it is funny or entertaining for you to take every copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex and put them alongside The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Calculus, the Bible, and Mastering the Art of French Eating.  If you are caught by a librarian, you will likely wind up having to unstack and restack the Fiction section fifty times for penance, or, worse, an embarrassing request for a date.

3.  When at the library, do not return DVDs or CDs without first checking and cleaning them if necessary.  It would only be a matter of time before the librarians would figure it out that it is you returning DVDs and CDs after you’ve used them to play Frisbee with your cats or as coasters at your Saturday Margarita fest.  Once you’re found out, you’ll likely be sent to the basement where they will make you clean every DVD and CD in their collection, as well as rewind every cassette and video tape.

2.  When at the library, do not drop off your soiled and smelly paperbacks and magazines as donations.  Before long, the library patrons will associate the odd cat-wizz smell coming from the donations bin with the same  smell that consistently comes from your shoes. (Dear kitties love the warmth of your shoes and they seem to hold a lot.)  At best, they will have security bar you from dropping off your donations before you even enter the door.  At worst, you will be forced to clean each and every one of your donations until their smell no longer causes people to wrinkle their noses and start sneezing.

1.  When at the library, do not stack towers of books on a table, peruse a few of them, and then just walk away.  It may be the librarian’s (low-paying) job to return books to the stacks, but to horde books without any concern to the other patrons will cause you to fall into disfavor among the librarians.  At best, they will simply shoot you nasty looks as they retrieve your tower of books.  At worst, they will make a wall of said books and bury you behind it along with the convicted felon doing community service.

Categories: Top Ten Lists

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

20 replies

      1. LOL…I am going to confess. I actually did that in the local library in just related history books. So far, to my knowledge, it hasn’t translated into sells. Maybe if I did it on a larger scale….LOL


        1. LOL! Go to for it, Susan! I think it’s a neat idea. As a library patron, I would enjoy finding a bookmark. Does your bookmark include your blog URL?


          1. I have QR codes on the back for the Amazon page and the Goodreads page, but no mention of the blog. There is a link to the blog in the back of the book though.


            1. I was thinking it would be cool if there was some way people who got your bookmark could at least let you know that they have it, even if they don’t buy your book. Or better yet, let you know that they bought your book because of the bookmark 🙂


    1. Good point. As long as you really want to know and are not asking for the sake of stumping the librarian … Hey, that sounds like a game show: Stump the Librarian!


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