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9 Very Specific Rules From Real Libraries

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We've all seen signs banning cell phones, food, and drinks. But these rules cover issues that might not be common to all libraries.

1. Keep the door closed due to bats

Rock Creek Flickr

In Charlemont, Massachusetts, the historic Goodnow Hall also houses the public library. If you are having a meeting, make sure you check with the front desk—there’s a rule about making sure you keep the door closed in the meeting room. While that might seem hard-nosed, it’s for a good cause: keeping bats from the building's tower out of the library.

2. No balloons

Don't even think about it! Scouting New York spotted this one at the Yonkers Public Library.

3. Deface materials, face hard time

What is it with Massachusetts, anyway? According to Chapter 266 Section 100 of the general laws, it’s illegal to deface any library materials. Ok, we get that: no doodling. But let’s be serious for a moment. The punishment involves replacing the materials, up to two years in prison, and up to a $1000 fine. Really? For doodles?

4. No unzipped clothes

At the Central Arkansas Library System, librarians decided to tackle a problem head-on. There is a rule about unzipped, unfastened, and unbuttoned clothing, which is designed to curb the tide of indecency. The first question you might want to ask: Just how “unbuttoned” do they mean, and have they seen what teenagers wear?

5. No chewing on headphone cords

A.R. Moore Flickr

At an undisclosed library in Georgia, there’s a rule about chewing on headphone cords. Sure, there are health concerns, depending on which library patron we’re talking about, but a more pressing problem has to do with damage. If too many people break the rule, the library will stop offering headphones altogether.

6. Do not reach across my desk!

At a university library in Manhattan, Kansas, there’s a rule about reaching across the cubicle of one of the staff members. The reason? Apparently, this particular staff person has had a problem with plants tipping and falling. See the full complaint at Passive Aggressive Notes.

7. No bathing

Here’s one to keep in mind if you visit Seattle anytime soon. At the city's public library, it’s illegal to take a bath in the restroom. For those curious about the legalities governing shampooing your hair, changing your clothes, or doing laundry: those are not kosher, either.

8. No re-shelving, even by library majors

LibraryKitty Flickr

Like many libraries, the University of Wisconsin in Madison has a rule about not re-shelving books. But this sign, designed by one of the library's employees and posted on Flickr, was too good to leave out. (Another sign mentions that finding a book reshelved in the wrong place is as difficult as finding Jimmy Hoffa.)

9. No use of library as a commercial business

At the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library in Ohio, you can’t use the library as a place of ongoing commercial business. That means: for accountants or real estate agents, you’re going to have to get a real office. Or move operations over to the local Starbucks.

Or Just Make One Very Broad Rule

Call this one the rule to end all rules: at the South Pasadena Public Library, there’s a sign that reads "No illegal behavior of any type." That pretty much covers it—unless you're in Massachusetts where the rules are a bit more specific.
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We know there are a lot of librarians, library employees, and library enthusiasts out there. What specific or bizarre rules have you encountered?

Sources: Library Signage Pool on Flickr, BuzzFeed, Metafilter.

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At the Libraries: The Best Books of 2013
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Have you seen the best-of-the-year round ups yet? The New York Times, Amazon, and Publisher's Weekly are all very thorough.

I think I'm going with Longbourne by Jo Baker, but Thank You For Your Service was also a book I'll never forget. I'm very 'meh' on The Goldfinch. What was your favorite?

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Here are some hilarious ideas for organizing your library or book store shelves!

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New blog alert! If you want to know what it's like to work at a library via GIFs, try Librarian Problems.

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All those awards—won't someone think of the poor judges who have to read all those books? Here's one sob story. (Well, OK, it's not all bad, but it is pretty funny.)
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Books are great, but what are the best libraries of 2013? Funny you should ask... 

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One of my favorite round-ups every year is 100 Scope Notes' Children's lit year in miscellanea. Best Cake of the Year? Travis covers it!

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I guess I need to read this Emily of New Moon book, if she's #1 on the list of Classic YA heroines, huh?

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Nothing like a little library porn to brighten your new year!

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A big news story this year was Amazon's plan to use drones for delivery. But did you see what Waterstone's plan is? Way better.

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How about another great list? This one is the best librarians in pop culture! You have seen Party Girl, right?

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File this story under: Things about which we need more detail. A giant slide was built to move 22 miles worth of books. Tell me more, please!

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Here's some cool looking libraries in Mexico!

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Which book on your library shelf probably has herpes? I think this one is totally guessable, guys...
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Time to spotlight some great bookshelves. This one keeps you balanced. But this one is shaped like a robot, so it's basically no contest.

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Confess your secret shame here, librarians!

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I am kind of depressed that my state's most famous book is a Nicholas Sparks, but oh well. This is still a very cool map.

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Recycling books can be a lot harder than it sounds. Check out how one library was able to instead reduce and reuse 10,000 books!

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Let's get back to drones for the ending of our column. Have you seen the video of the NYPL shot by a drone? It's surprisingly beautiful.

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Happy New Year, everyone!

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At the Libraries: The Bookstore that Comes to You
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Just like a food truck, but less messy!

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These are great posters for reading. I'll take one of each; thanks!

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So, tell me straight: do you finish every book, or are you able to quit in the middle? I gave myself permission to quit a few years ago and it was VERY liberating. Life's too short, y'all!

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We've seen lots of tiny libraries, but I don't think I've seen THESE tiny libraries yet. Apparently there are ten in Manhattan—anyone seen or used one yet?

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Speaking of tiny, this 5-year-old, who has read 875 books this school year, is my tiny hero!

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Do books with girl characters have "girly" covers? One of my favorite YA authors, Maureen Johnson, inspired these great gendered cover flips. I think the David Sedaris is the best.

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Oh dear, these Park Slope parents have the most unusual library complaint.

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2131 books = a new world record and a bit of a clean-up nightmare, but I'm sure the Seattle Public Library would say it was all worth it.

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I love this art project—turn old bricks into books!

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Or, if you have old books instead of old bricks, you can turn them into sculptures instead.

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Or maybe you just want to paint some books? Check out these quirky watercolors for inspiration!

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Remember The World Book Encyclopedia? Ever done a "Dork Bowl?"

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Would you read these books, too? Maybe you should write one!

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If you need some heartwarming stories to read today, try the Libraries Changed My Life tumblr. They sure changed mine!

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I love it when we can end on a video. Here's a great one, but warning—it's pretty sad, as you can tell from the title:
Out-of-Work Librarian Blues.

Best of luck to her.

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Thanks as always for reading, and have a great June! See you all next month.

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