As each semester progresses, you will find yourself spending more and more time in the library. Here are some tips on how to make the best of the library experience for you and for those around you.

Don’t talk

Whether living on or off campus, college life is filled with distractions. Students often rely on the library as the only place guaranteed to be a quiet study space. Whenever someone talks in the library, even at a whisper, the noise can be very disruptive in an otherwise silent environment. Set your phone to silent if you can’t switch it off—even vibrate can make a lot of noise in the absence of other sounds. If you run into a friend or need to answer a phone call, take your conversation to the lobby.

Snack outside the stacks

We understand that long days in the library can end with painfully empty stomachs. You should be sure to nourish yourself during those extended study sessions. But the library is definitely not the place to take your lunch or snacks. Eating near the books risks spilling on the pages or attracting pests into the collections. In addition, loudly crunching carrots or chips can be very distracting to those around you. Do yourself a favor by scheduling snack breaks in the lobby every couple of hours or leaving your assignment for a few minutes to take a quick lunch in the nearest cafeteria. Your stomach—and your brain—will thank you!

Treat the books with respect

Ever read through a library book that is filled with underlines, highlights, or notes in the margins? Someone else’s annotations can divert attention away from the material, making concentration on the text all the more difficult. Not to mention, sometimes highlighting can render text illegible when pages are photocopied. When reading a library book, pretend it belongs to a close friend so you won’t be tempted to write in the pages. Mark pages with sticky notes that can easily be removed upon returning the book. Keep a notebook and pen handy to make notes in your own notebook while reading. And don’t annotate a book in pencil with the intention of erasing it all when you’re done—you won’t get around to it.