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15 people you'll always find in a university library

11th March 2014

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Ah, the university library: a microcosm of society, wherein you will find all that life can afford. Come join us...

The lad watching Netflix

He’s got his headphones in, and the sound of Walter White is just loud enough to be distracting. They’ve been here since lunchtime, Netflix Boy and Walter, and they show no signs of leaving even though the sun is about to set and the odd library helper people have started to emerge from between the shelves and clear away the day’s abandoned books. Surely they’d be more comfortable at home, on the sofa, Netflix Boy and Walter? Seriously, why are they still here?

The 2-4 girls who just can’t stop giggling

You’re well within your rights to tell them, passively aggressively or otherwise, to shut the fudge up. Optimum moment to do this is after one of them points out, in a stage whisper, that they’re “probably annoying and should be quiet.” Just agree with her. Enthusiastically. Everyone within fifty feet will thank you (silently.)  

The 3rd year who hasn’t left for 14 hours

Their eyes are dead and so is their soul, and the 47 library books and 17 empty Red Bull cans surrounding them only serve as a testament to this. Don’t sit too close, but observe from afar in an Attenborough-esque curious fashion.

Miss Studious.

She’s got to work very, very hard – previous years have brought her to the sad conclusion that if she slacks off for even a couple of hours she’ll be on the 2.2 pile come June. And no one wants that. It is fear, now, that propels her.

The one in sports clothes who’s just dropping in

...on his way back from football, via the gym. He is characterised by headphones, an expensive looking tracksuit and an overwhelming sense that he’s doing a service to the friends that he is briefly visiting in the four floor biology section. He’ll tell them his (and now their) plans for that night’s debauchery, and then swiftly leave. Don’t expect him to return any time soon.

The fidgeter

She just can’t concentrate – the library is way too quiet to do actual work in! How can you work here? Don’t you think it’s too quiet? No? She definitely needs music to concentrate, and - oh look, her flatmate needs her! Better skip off home then, for a cuppa and a chat, and then they can all do their work together – without distractions.  

The group that has forgotten that there’s soundproof room for that sort of thing

Listen up: no one cares about your Apprentice-style marketing coursework, however important it is to you. Now, get back into the group project room where you belong.

The glarer

You can cough once per hour, or move your chair half an inch, or whisper hello to your coursemate who’s just turned up – any more and you’ll fall victim to the glarer. Unless of course you’re...

The cougher

And if this is the case, for the love of God – take yourself outside, where you can acquire some Halls soothers and stop being quite such an annoyance.

The phantom

Or, worse, the phantom group. They’re NEVER there, but their laptops are. So are their bags. And their mountains upon mountains of hardback books. Their location remains a mystery, as does their blatant disregard for the “do not leave your valuables unattended” notice.

The library shelf stacker

They emerge as the evening draws in, and take the shape of a bi-spectacled middle-aged woman or an officious student whose correct positioning of the entire works of Keats determines their £7 SU vodka money and therefore is the single most important thing in their life. Drop that Keats anthology in the ‘J’ section under their watch and all hell will come your way.

Your dissertation supervisor

...who now exists apparently In Real Life, and not just in their musty office on the eighth floor of your department. You’ve seen them browsing through the recently returned books and now there’s a strong possibility of eye contact. WHAT FRESH HELL?

The beautiful, beautiful specimen sat opposite

As if you needed any more distractions.

The couple

You can never quite hear what they’re saying - instead they exist to you in a disparate, hushed, occasionally giggling world that is real only to them – a loved-up version of a study group that is passable to their minds only because their eyes first met in that seminal evolutionary biology lecture in year one, term two.

The awkward eater

Come on now – it’s a universally known truth that cheesy nachos are not a sociable library food.  Cheesy nachos are in fact very, very anti-social, as we can tell by the way you’re eating them very quickly and occasionally glancing around like a hawk to check whether anyone is offended by your faux Mexican snack choices. Note: they are. And from now on you shall be known as Nacho Boy, and we will see you everywhere and think of nachos. For all time, this will remain awkward.

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