People eating in the library - should I say somethings?


First of all, this is the situation: I work in a large-ish postgraduate area (about 40 desks) which is located in a separate room in the library - it is a 'quiet' work area i.e. we're not meant to talk so I assume we're not meant to eat in here either. There are signs all over the library saying no food/drink but none in this room....

Over the past few months there has been a number of new postgrads arriving and they keep treating the place like a canteen!!! It's really bugging me... all I hear all day is people munching on packets of crisps. One girl in particular, who sits right next to me, starts eating junk food from about 10am onwards. Right now her desk is overflowing with empty crisp packets, coffee cups, you name it. Also she is a big fan of 'Cheese and Onion' crisps - which I can't STAND!!! They stink... I thought I was going to get sick here one day with the smell...

So anyway what should I do? I don't want to be a bitch but it's really annoying me... I was going to put up a sign saying 'No food/drink' but I'm worried that people will know it was me and think I'm a cantankerous old bag. What would any of you do???


Smells can be so offputting, especially when they are bad food smells (although I personally enjoy cheese and onion, but only in the privacy of my own home!). But I also find if I smell something nice I lose concentration and want only to wander off to the nearest cafe for something similar!

I guess the best thing to do would be to go to who ever runs the room, the librarians even and ask what the policy is in the post-grad areas. And ask them to make it clear in the room (i.e. put up the posters themselves).
Good luck.


I dont think you are being cantankerous, having a quick chocolate bar or a few fruit pastiles is one thing, but crunching through bags of crisps is really inconsiderate especially if they are smelly ones! My housemate constantly chews gum when she is working and she tries to blow bubbles with it and so I can constantly hear her 'clicking' which is really annoying!

I think its terrible if she doesnt clean up after herself either, that is really inconsiderate. Also if she is eating crisps she'll be getting greasy finger prints over everything which is grim.

I would mention it to library staff and see what they say, if there is a 'no eating/drinking' policy then they should be informed.


======= Date Modified 04 Dec 2008 11:55:30 =======
That sounds really annoying - it would get to me as well. Cheese and onion crisps do smell, sometimes other people's dinner smells quite putrid and I wonder if they've got something wrong with their taste buds.

Is there a member of staff responsible for postgrad students and their facilities? Maybe you could get them to say something, and to send out an email to everyone or put up a notice about guidelines how the room should be used. Or is there a student rep you could speak to? It would be better if you could sort out 'rules' for room use through a third party who officially has some sort of responsibility for the whole area, then you won't look like a moaner (which I don't think you are AT ALL btw!!). Or you could speak to their supervisors about it, and they could tell them how students are expected to behave. Failing getting third parties to sort it out, I'd speak to them myself, but do it on a day when you're feeling particularly tactful, otherwise it might come out a bit rudely and you still need to work with these people presumably.

Though to be honest, us lot have moaned about each other, put up notices, told people off for various habits and at the end of the day, you just get used to each other having off days and being grumpy, like families in one way.


Hmmm, this is a bit of a tough one. I work on a bank of PhD desks within the library at my uni and we're not meant to eat in here, but we all do simply because we're in here 10-12 hours a day. However, we certainly don't eat stinky loud crisps!!! Would you feel comfortably talking to the crisp eater and just nicely asking whether she might consider eating something a little more sociable? You could go straight to the top, as it were, and there is no need for people to know it was you, but I know from experience that having your food intake policed heavily in the final months of the PhD can be a real pain too. Maybe you could bring in a tub of curry and eat that to make your point : )


I can absolutely understand you... I hate the noise of people eating crisps :-s Especially in such a quiet place. Is there no control? In my library you cannot bring bags, only half transparent baskets. Nobody here would be able to bring in a whole bag of crisps!!
No, you are not cantankerous at all, I already complain when people talk loud and for a long time. It is a library, not a pub!! ggrrrrrr
Go for the staff!


good point omen!
One can also order a pizza :D


I agree that if food is not allowed then you should say something.
But I wanted to say that in my uni's library they have recently changed the policy to allow food - in the main library this is! There are still some areas where you can't eat but now people are allowed in most areas to have food. I haven't seen anyone eating any big amounts such as take aways or picnics and I am somewhat surprised that this has been allowed as I know that even if I have a bit of chocolate or some crisps, I do end up as pointed out in one of the posts, getting sticky fingermarks on things. Surely the librarians would be worried about this? The upside is that there are recycling bins all over the place now so people can get rid of their rubbish in an environmentally friendly way.
Does anybody else's library allow food?


This type of behaviour is exactly why I don't work well in university facilities.

I would also suggest submiting a complaint to whoever is in charges of the room, and tell them in detail about the smell from the food. Normally, someone is only too happy to enforce rules.

If you have no joy, you could always leave an anonymous notice message at this particular girl's desk politely asking her to refrain from eating smelly foods as it's inconsiderate to other users.


Pamw, there's absolutely no food allowed in our library. And no tea or coffee either, but you can have bottled water, always useful in summer heatwaves to prevent students passing out from dehydration!


======= Date Modified 04 Dec 2008 14:54:42 =======
Thanks for all the replies, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who is bothered by this kind of thing! I like the idea of ordering a pizza to teach them a lesson lol! I think I will go the route of getting library staff to enforce the rules... and maybe an anonymous note if that doesn't work! I don't really know any of the 'offenders' well enough to feel comfortable saying it to them - although maybe I could say "ummm, I know cause you're NEW here you don't know the rules, BUT... your crisps STINK!!!" Hahaha on second thoughts I think I will let the library staff handle it, I'm worried I won't be able to say it in a non-rude way ;-)


Pam, our library recently had a big makeover and began to allow food. They also replaced the reading cabinets/desks with bloody neon sofas and coffee tables. Apparantly the student of today needs to "sip lattes and snack while they study" sitting on "funky, comfortable furniture [which has] has replaced traditional library study desks". Shudder.


lol Juno, we've got some of those spaces too!! 'Zones' that offer 'flexible space utilisation' and give students 'ownership of their working area'. The colours make me feel like I've accidentally walked onto the set of a children's tv program. Lime green plastic isn't a lovely sight first thing in the morning.


He...maybe I'm just an old grump but I quite like the dusty old academic libraries of yore. Either you are at the same uni as me, or this trendy library business is spreading throughout the academic world. Bog off with your lattes and "learning zones", and bring back my desks;-)


So you have to work on a sofa??? When I try to work on my sofa at home, I usually start nappping or listening to music. This kind of furniture makes work impossible :o