Phil Bradley explains that he’s doing his work at a public library in the UK for a while. Currently, the library is renovating the space where he used to sit, so he’s sitting in a different place for the day: (emphasis mine)
About 13.00 a librarian comes up to me and says ‘You have to move. You’re not allowed to use your own laptop here.‘ I asked why and she said that it’s because they don’t have the room, and people were complaining about lack of space. Which would be fair enough except that there has clearly been enough space when I’ve been there before, and for the whole of the morning. It would also have been nice if there was actually a sign to that effect, but no.
Fair enough – if those are the rules, then I’ll move. So I asked the librarian if there was somewhere else I could go. She waved in the direction of downstairs. ‘Are there any sockets there that I could use?’ I asked. ‘I don’t know. You’ll have to look. I expect so.’ She almost literally stood over me while I packed up and moved. Downstairs I go, look around, no sockets. Another librarian. ‘Anywhere I can…etc’ ‘No, nothing here. Try down on the ground floor. There may be one there.’ I’m sensing a theme here – perhaps they’re trying to win an award for ‘Most unhelpful librarian of the year’?
I found the area – no luck, all the seats were taken, which wasn’t a surprise. Eventually I’ve managed to get a space in some public area and back online.
Now if I was in the wrong – fair enough. But not only have I done this plenty of times before, I’d been in the same place all morning, but the impression was given to me that I was being a nuisance and causing other people problems. No signs up to say that I couldn’t be there though, so that doesn’t really work for me. No need for rude and unhelpful behavior either. I understand that if they’re working on an area it’s going to make life difficult, but I think it’s reasonable to work out what the ramifications are of doing work and to try and get around them. Simply saying ‘go away’ doesn’t really cut it in my book. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a negative experience in a library, so I guess that it was bound to happen at some point. Can’t say that I feel very welcome at Sutton any longer though. Maybe I’ll try and find a Starbucks instead.