What is Library Protocol?
During a recent trip to the Savannah library, I was doing research on a writing project, and I noticed a woman at a nearby table. She had her computer, papers, phone, phone charger, etc. spread out before her.
About an hour later, she wandered off to answer a phone call. I kept working until it was time for me to go to lunch and some appointments. However, phone lady had not returned.
I faced a dilemma. She had not actually glanced my way or acknowledged me at all. Still, I felt somewhat responsible as a kind of steward of her stuff.
Minutes crept forward, and she failed to return. I reached the point of no return and began to pack my stuff. As I walked past her empty table, I noticed she had receipts spread around.
Just then, she wandered past without glancing at me. I said that I had kept a watch on her stuff. She initially ignored me, then tossed a faint “thank you” at my back.
Why would a woman come to the library and walk away from her stuff for 30-45 minutes while her computer, financial information and possessions were available to anyone who came along?
No one talks about library protocol between strangers. What do you do with an unspoken or unacknowledged bond? You want to be a good person, but you can’t stay there forever waiting on them.
Has anything like this happened to you? Do you feel an obligation to keep a watch over other people’s things?