Cell Phone Use in the Library

Comment from an SDSU graduate student received on April 15 2008:

I was studying at a table in book stacks this morning, 1000am to 1230pm, and during this time 14 students talking at full volume on their cells phones walked past me. I think it would be reasonable to wholly ban cell phone use in the library. If a student or library employee, as the book reshelvers use them too, needs to be in conversation with someone, they should go to the Union or anywhere else on campus. There is no reason whatsoever to allow cell phone use in Briggs–not even in the lobby. The world will not end if someone is forced to cease use of their phone, and the library should be a place where one can get away from the noise.

Our response:

I’m sorry you were disturbed by people talking on their cell phones this morning.  Actually Briggs Library has had a policy regarding the use of cell phones for several years.  That policy states:

Cellular Phones, Pagers, or Other Audible Electronic Devices

It is essential that an environment conducive to serious study and research be maintained in the library. 

Cellular phones, pagers, and other audible electronic devices that could inhibit the concentration of library researchers must not be used in most areas of Briggs Library.  These devices should be turned off to prevent potential distractions. 

Cellular phones may be used discreetly only in the following areas: 

  • The Library Vestibule (main floor, between the two sets of doors)
  • The Library Lobby (main floor, between the entry doors and the reference area)
  • Group Study Rooms (when no one in the group objects)
  • Individual Study Rooms

Laptop or notebook computers may be used in the library, but the sound should be muted.


Exception: Library employees may need to use audible electronic devices in the course of their assigned duties.  Such use should only occur to the extent necessary. 


This policy should be posted throughout the building and we will check to make sure those policy statements are still posted and replace them if necessary.  When we notice someone using a cell phone we try to inform them of the policy.  I will forward your suggestion to the Dean of Libraries for his consideration.


Again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience. – Clark Hallman, Head of Public Services



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