Ask Andie: How can I save my quiet study spot from talkative students?

Dear Andie,

For the majority of my BYU career, I have found great success studying in the big lot of tables on the south end of the library’s fifth floor. This location is quiet but just busy enough to help one not feel completely isolated. Or at least, it used to be.

About a year ago, to my horror, things started to change for the worse in my lovely sanctuary. This area fell prey to a group of extremely trendy and hip girls and guys who all seem to know each other and want everyone else to know it. What I mean is noise. Guys with rolled-up jeans, ugly sweaters, thick glasses and radically parted hair-dos will come and laugh at each other’s hilarious jokes, irritating everyone around them. Then their chic, hippy-looking gal pals will show up and it will be like none of them have seen each other for years. A joyous, hug-filled reunion is 100% guaranteed to take place EVERY SINGLE TIME they meet. One girl in particular makes it a habit to set down her bag and walk around the entire study area, hugging and flirting shamelessly with every guy she knows. She then sits down … until someone else she knows comes in. And then the whole cycle repeats itself.

I don’t mean to sound prudish. I love BYU and the social atmosphere and certainly am not opposed to flirting and hugging, or even hipsters. However, this kind of behavior is very annoying and disruptive when people are trying to study. Everything has its place.

So what should I do? I like that study place and don’t want to move, and I know I’m not the only annoyed party. But I don’t want to be that person who tells them to be quiet and calm down. What should I do?

Broken Concentration on the Fifth Floor


Dear Broken,

I am on your side. I don’t care what kind of clothes they wear or what kind of music they like to listen to. I care that they’re being disrespectful of their fellow students. The library is the sanctum of educated thought. It’s not the place for social hour or courting, no matter what people say about the fifth floor. If people want to be loud and distracting, the library has so kindly provided the “No Shh” zone on the third floor. This is a library at a university, not a cafeteria in a middle school.

As good as it may feel to have the moral high ground (at least my version of it), that doesn’t solve your problem. Here’s my plan of attack for Operation: Take Back the Library:

Step 1: The Hero. You can be “that person.” You can stand up against the tyranny of loud flirting. I believe in you. If other people are disturbed by the behavior of this group as well it would be in the interest of everyone to talk to the noisemakers and politely let them know that you are trying to study. Hopefully they will respect your maturity and will respond in kind. I’m sure the other library-goers will cheer you as their champion.

Step 2: The Narc. If they decide to blatantly ignore you, you’ll have to appeal to a higher authority. The Harold B. Lee Library, via its Facebook page, said, “If it’s a designated quiet area, and they’re there a lot, you could probably ask one of the Help Desk employees to have a talk with them.” These students are breaking the social code of the library and disturbing others. If you talk loudly during a movie, the ushers throw you out. The same rules should apply for an educational facility.

Step 3: The Retreat. The previous step should solve the problem, but if it doesn’t you might have to make an honorable retreat. Starting a messy fight just isn’t worth it. You can always go study by the Blue Line Deli in the Tanner building, or in the alcoves on the second floor of the JFSB. I like the deli because there are tables and comfortable couches and when you’re hungry you can get a snack!

Good luck with your mission. I hope everything works out.

Readers, how would you handle an invasion of your peaceful study environment? Comment below or tweet @askandie7.

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