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Etiquette and More: The SCU Learning Commons (aka The Library)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SCU chapter.


I know that it may come as a shock to most, but attending college actually involves going to school and (ugh) doing homework.  No matter what your study space of choice is, it is important to understand SCU’s library, as all of us will eventually have to set foot in there at some point.

First thing’s first:  the library is the mecca of studying on campus; therefore it is important to respect this sacred spot.  This means picking a proper place to sit, socializing appropriately, and abiding by a few simple etiquette rules.  If you haven’t noticed already, going to the library is an art.

A frequent library goer myself, I’d like to share a few of my thoughts:

Be polite.

I’m sorry if I sound like your mom, but nobody likes the person who has Outkast blasting through their headphones on repeat, or the person chewing gum way too loudly.  Don’t be at the table of friends that thinks they’re quietly whispering to each other, but really is telling the whole room about the party they were at last night.  Book a study room if you want to make noise, and go outside to answer your phone.  Everyone can hear everything!

People can see what’s happening on your computer screen.

…And they will judge you.  Get off of Facebook and do your homework. The phrase is “work hard, play hard” for a reason – you can’t do both at the same time.


Eating is fine, just don’t eat too loudly or bring anything too delicious.  That’s just mean.

Decide where you want to sit.

Where you sit makes or breaks your library experience.  If you know you have a lot of stuff to spread out, make sure to get a table.  If you don’t want to get distracted, choose a cubicle.  If you don’t mind making noise every time you switch positions, sit at the squeaky booth tables.  If you want to chat with friends and have a social library experience, go to the second floor.  For silence, go to the 3rd floor or St. Clare room.  A bad seating choice can result in hours of lacking productivity and anxiety.

The St. Clare room.

It’s always a good idea to study in a room that’s named after Santa Clara’s namesake… she was kind of a big deal.  This 3rd floor room feels distinctly collegiate and prestigious, yet make note that there are not many power outlets, so come with a fully charged computer. However, drop a pencil at your own risk – everyone WILL turn and stare to see where the noise came from…

Finding a seat.

 Once you’ve determined where you want to sit, the next step is to find a seat.  Most of the time, it is easy to find an empty table or cubicle.  Yet during midterms or finals week, a trip to the library can make you feel like the new kid in a high school lunchroom.  You don’t see any of your friends, all the cubicles are taken, and each table has someone sitting at it.  What to do?  Honestly, you’re going to have to suck it up and sit with someone you don’t know.  As long as it doesn’t look like they’re saving spots at their table for friends, consider the seat yours.  This takes a bit of courage, but hey, college is a time to try new things, right?  Show everyone just how daring you are.


People watching.

One of the best parts about the library is that on the average weeknight, around 7 or 8 pm, it is THE place to be.  Trying to run into that cute guy you met at the party last night?  Chances are he’s somewhere in the library.  Yet if this is your main reason to go to the library, be wary of my next point.

Shameless staring.

While checking out the library scene can be unbelievably entertaining, avoid staring at someone for extended periods of time.  This can be creepy and weird.  If you really want to interact with them it’s probably just best to pass by, flash your best smile, and say a quick hello on your way to get water, coffee, go to the bathroom, or whatever excuse you’ve made up to move.  Be somewhat stealthy…  at least try and act like you care about your schoolwork.

Leaving your stuff unattended.

This is the ultimate dilemma of the library.  How much do we trust our peers?  There are signs all over the library telling you to watch your stuff, but what if you just have to go to the bathroom or print something out?  We are a trusting community, yet you can never be too careful.  Here’s my rule of thumb:  if you’re planning on being gone for longer than five minutes, take your computer or any other valuables with you.  Leaving a couple notebooks is enough to save your spot for extended periods of time.  If you’re still nervous, ask someone near you to watch your stuff.  Another opportunity to be bold!


Overall, the library is a place to see and be seen.  Use it in the right way and you might even make new friends.  While you may not realize it just yet, the silent bonds formed between you and your peers in the library are real and truly mean something.  This is too good of an opportunity to pass up.  Go to the library

Happy studies!