My Tragic Fear of Libraries

okay.

I know.

It’s weird.

and probably not #relatable

but I’m terrified of the library.

Like, I won’t go alone and I’d rather not go at all.  I realize that makes me sound super privileged and awful, but there’s a good reason, so bare with me.

At my school, all of the libraries are SUPER QUIET.  If I walk in and happen to cough, trip over my feet (yes, that happens a lot), pull out a chair too loudly, or shuffle a pile of papers too aggressively, people will stare.  At least, I feel like they’re staring.  And when that happens, I tend to make other uncomfortable sounds to cover up my embarrassment which just makes everything worse and it SPIRALS OUT OF CONTROL AND SUDDENLY WE’RE IN A PIT OF ETERNAL HELL.  (Not really, but it feels that way)

Actually, this is quite tragic because in high school, I LOVED studying in my library, because there were always people around, it was semi-silent (people whispered but weren’t distracting) and it felt like a community.

Now, I feel like it’s asking to be attacked.

The only time I can go to the library now is if I head straight up to the 6th floor stacks, and hide at the single desk wedged between the books where nobody else ever comes or sees.  It’s actually a really cool place, because you’re LITERALLY SURROUNDED by books, but it’s not what I want out of my library experience.  I want to be around people, since isolation is a tad bit frightening at times.  I’ve realised that I need people around to study, or else I distract myself with Instagram, blogging, or the terrifying idea of the future.

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So that brings me to my actual point.

Why are libraries so uninviting?

before you go getting all defensive, hear me through.  I know not all libraries are like this, but the majority that I’ve been in have old cranky librarians who encourage tip toeing and complete silence.

but WHY!!?!?!

In my opinion, libraries should be an open, collaborative place where people go to talk about books, share recommendations, do work together, or just generally hang out.  A library should be a safe community meeting place, somewhere that teens and adults alike want to go to chill or browse.  Add a Starbucks, some couches, a lounge.  Maybe then people would start loving reading more.

By making a library more inviting, people who would never think of picking up a book might find themselves there, and then… who knows… magic could happen.

Right now, uber silent libraries make it intimidating to approach, and so nobody VOLUNTARILY decides to spend their Saturday at a library.  (I mean, maybe you do and if so no judgement)

a lot of introverts are probably screaming at me right now.  I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be silent areas of the library– silent study rooms, quiet places, etc are also important.  But it shouldn’t be the entire library.

The whole point of tons of free books for the community is that people actually read them.  And right now that isn’t really happening.  If we want to save libraries, the most important step is to make people want to go inside of them.

Maybe what I have in mind is a super alternative library, or maybe I’ve just had really unlucky experiences and y’all are wondering why I’m talking about something that already exists.  Maybe I should just head straight for the bookstore (where I can’t buy anything because #broke).  I’m not sure, but I feel like something about the library system is messed up.

Until something changes, I’m going to stay FARRRR away from the library, unless i’m with an escort of friends who will protect me from the menacing stares of the other studiers.

@LIBRARIES make collaborative talking spaces! let me talk about books! and homework! somewhere! you have six floors no need to make them all silent!!

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Do you love the library? What about silent spaces? Have you ever wished your local library served coffee?

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8 thoughts on “My Tragic Fear of Libraries”

  1. Oh, wow, I never thought about it this way, Joce! I definitely have never had the same experiences as you when it comes to libraries. My school librarians have been kinda mean and hard to approach, but man, I’ll do anything for books. My public library, however, is filled with extremely nice staff, and there are lots of kids around, and it’s just a genuinely happy atmosphere. (The YA room is pretty quiet tho. Barely anyone goes there, lucky for me!) I totally agree that libraries should be more inviting and have spaces to TALK about books — because not only are we here to read them, but discuss them with others as well! Great post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you’ve had better experiences than me!! I agree that you tend to do anything for a book, I mean despite my complaints I still show up there pretty often lol. Somehow we need to have the best of both worlds, talking and quiet!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I dislike libraries for entirely different reasons. My public library is a kind of home, you could say, for those who are homeless, or just unemployed, so people bring in food, eat very loudly, charge their phones, make very noisy phone calls, and I would LOVE some peace and quiet! Plus because it’s next to a college at three school kids come in and make a right racket, or make trouble. My library actually has a cafe too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you. They can definitely have this overwhelming feeling about them. I haven’t gone into the main branch of my library because it’s so big and I don’t know my way around it. I love my small branch that I go to. Coffee shops in all libraries should be a thing that just sounds amazing. My favorite time to go to the library is when there isn’t anyone there it’s peaceful and I’m so used to having 3 kids with me everywhere the quiet is nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooh yeah if you’re used to noise all the time it could be nice to have somewhere quiet to go. The popularity of the coffee bar idea makes me want to open a library with it (but like I need to have money lol)
      small local places are always 100% better than big ones

      Liked by 1 person

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