I think most academic librarians will feel Scott McLemee’s pain when they read his latest essay about cell phone abusers. Is there a librarian among us who hasn’t been disturbed by the lack of respect that cell phone abusers show for their fellow library users – or had to take complaints from those who still believe the library is one place on campus that should be reserved for quiet study. Sure, all of our libraries have the standard noisy and quite zones – and we don’t want to play noise cop – but cell phones are going off all over the place. McLemee writes:
Wandering the stacks, they babble away in a blithe and full-throated matter -â€“ conversing, not with their imaginary friends (as did the occasional library-haunting weirdo of yesteryear) but rather with someone who is evidently named â€œDude,â€ and who might, for all one knows, be roaming elsewhere in the building: an audible menace to all serious thought and scholarly endeavor. This situation is intolerable. It must not continue.
His solution? Just shoot them. Bullets are nice, but even a taser would do. I’m sure a few of us have even fantasized about just strangling these folks when their ringtones start blaring away. But even McLemee knows we can’t let our cell phone rage lead us to uncivilized responses to uncivilized behavior. But he does give us some hope. After all, we’re not the first generation to deal with forms of public rudeness. How has society overcome past transgressions of this sort? Read the essay to learn more, and the next time a cell phone goes off it might just help you control yourself.