Cell phones in libraries

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Many libraries forbid the use of cell phones as part of their general user responsibilities policy. Others permit cell phones in designated areas, and prohibit them elsewhere. Many libraries have no rules against cell phone use per se, but seek to deal only with behaviorial issues creating excessive noise, including ringing and loud conversations.

The problem and response can vary widely depending on the type of library, physical design and community expectations. A high school media center, the reading room in the Library of Congress, the reference area of a research library, and the children's and young adult areas of a high traffic public library may be seen as different environments in this context. Some libraries may elect to treat any and all use of a cell phone as problem patron behavior, while others treat only the noise issue.

As with the practice of having coffee shops in libraries, these rules can elicit strong responses from librarians about the purpose of a library building. In 2004, the Huntington Beach (CA) public library announced a fee structure of up to $1000 for using a mobile phone within the library.[1] Other librarians have proposed blocking cell phone signals, a practice which is illegal in the United States, as a way to quell the use of cell phones against library policy by problem patrons.

In an Unshelved strip, a character uses a walkie-talkie to get around the library's "no cell phones" rule.


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