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The Unforgivable Crime of Library Phone Calls

The latest and greatest of my pet peeves is something that I’m amazed even happens at all: library phone calls.

Like… seriously? Have you not been taught since kindergarten that loud voices in the library are a no-no? I can understand a whisper-level discussion about a school project, or maybe an important call you’ve been waiting for from a potential employer. Just have the decency to dip into the hall (or outside the building, if possible) and conduct your business there. What I’m really calling out here is the unforgivable crime of the unnecessary library phone call.

I feel that this article is not unwarranted. On more than one occasion, I have found myself grinding away at homework in silence on the top floor of the library (which, in theory, is meant to be the quietest floor available), only to be yanked away from my line of focus by an obnoxious speakerphone call.

That’s right, folks. Speakerphone.

Not only do these absolute heathens have the audacity to start a phone call in the sacrosanct quiet of a library, but they also choose to do so on speakerphone. Public speakerphone calls are already a nuisance, in my opinion, no matter the volume of the surrounding area, but there is not a single excuse on this earth for holding one in a library.

I’m definitely worked up about this particular issue and could gladly write a whole article on just that; although, I’m not sure many people want to read another petty rant from me. Instead, I’d like to elaborate on a broader concern: manners.

I am by no means the “prim and proper” type, and my language could use some cleaning up, for sure. But there are some things in this world that are matters of common courtesy, and it’s genuinely disheartening to see so many people who are either completely ignorant of the world around them or just completely apathetic toward it. While many rules of social etiquette seem kind of trivial, a lot of them exist for a reason, and you’re not doing yourself or the people around you any favors by ignoring them.

Is this a generation-specific problem? I’m tempted to say no; one of the culprits of library phonecalls I witnessed was an elderly woman who was definitely not using her inside voice. She’s just as guilty as the student who initiated a speakerphone call to his mom in the middle of a cluster of study booths. I, too, love my mother, and I try to call her whenever I get the chance, but the library is not the place for that, my dude.

I do find it strange how general manners have declined to such a degree, while things like “political correctness” seem to have skyrocketed. This is not an attempt to bash the latter, but rather a question as to why the two haven’t grown alongside one another. After all, aren’t both meant to show our fellow human beings a little respect?

All in all, the general population needs to take a moment and reflect on whether the library is really the best place to have a full-volume chat about weekend plans. I’m all about being loud and proud, and I could stand to be a lot louder and prouder myself. Just, please, for the love of my sanity and my GPA, send a text instead.

Emily Stellman

Chapel Hill '21

Emily is an aspiring author that studies English and Comparative Literature at UNC. She is also minoring in History and hopes to one day become a lawyer or work in a museum. Her interests include music, doting on her pets and all things Disney!
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