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Your Official Penn State Library Etiquette Guide

Like it or not, finals week is rapidly approaching. And with it comes the hundreds of Penn Staters that will head to the library to get some studying done.

While many students frequent the library year-round, others may be using final exams as their first excuse to go. Whether you’re a stacks groupie or a library newbie, there are plenty of unspoken rules that need to be followed when you hit the books.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together an etiquette guide to help you get up-to-date on library faux pas.

Put Those Earbuds In

Some of us may like to listen to music while we work, and that is totally okay. But for the sake of those around you, put some earbuds in. No one needs to listen to you jam out to Taylor Swift’s new album while you study. 

This goes beyond music as well. It’s common for students to attend review sessions ahead of their finals for some last-minute help. But, we don’t need to hear your CHEM 110 professor reviewing the last 14 weeks of material. Just put your earbuds in. 

Keep Gossip To A Minimum

Studying with a group of friends can be fun. For some of us, seeing those around us working helps our productivity. But keep the talking to a minimum. The whole library doesn’t need to know about the latest drama between you and a partner or the bad decisions you made the weekend before. It’s distracting, and you never know who’s listening.

Luckily for you, there are plenty of spots throughout the library that can be used for group studying, such as the Collaboration Commons. Just remember to keep your conversations at a low volume.

Be Mindful Of Table Space

The library gets super crowded during finals week, and students will be scrambling to find an open spot. Don’t be selfish and take up an entire half of a table.

A lot of tables at the library are huge and meant for multiple people to sit at. If you’re flying solo, be courteous to others and keep the amount of space you’re using limited. Try to at least use the seat you’re sitting in and the one next to you to keep all your items.

On the contrary, if someone is sitting at a smaller table with an open seat, don’t take it as an invitation to study with them.

Don’t Leave Items Unattended For Long

Starbucks runs are essential during library study sessions. But make sure you tell someone around you to keep an eye on your stuff when you go to grab your iced coffee. You don’t want anyone else taking your spot or stealing anything.

If you plan to leave for 20 minutes or more, take your belongings with you. At that point, you’re wasting a potential spot for someone else. 

Loud Eaters: Beware

You’re bound to get hungry or thirsty while cramming. Bringing food to the library to keep your brain fueled is key to maintaining a long study sesh. However, be mindful of where you’re opening up that bag of chips.


Regardless, remember to be courteous and respectful to those around you.

Happy studying, Penn State!

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About the Author

Emily Grill

Emily is a third-year broadcast journalism student from New Jersey. She likes to think that being Italian and 5 feet tall are her biggest personality traits. You can probably catch her at Chick-fil-A at least two or three days out of the week. Feel free to contact her by emailing [email protected]

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