Answering the Cell Phone Question
I just finished the Talk Back Column entitled The Cell Phone Police by Leah L. White (p. 36) of the May 1, 2009 Library Journal.
Our library's cell phone policy is somewhat in flux at the current time, with a pending change in directors. We have sought, throughout the changes in administration to take a customer service, rather than a phone police perspective.
We find that there are two issues in the cell phone question. The first is the many loud and varied ringtones. We ask that patrons who enter the library put their phone on manner mode, while they are in the library.
We don't police this in a hard manner. If someone is persistant in receiving calls, we invite them to use one of our study rooms to take their calls. This works rather well in helping to remind people that they can go to the study rooms to receive calls.
We ask patrons to step into the hall way or study room, as well when engaging in long conversations. We spin the issue by saying that it is as much for their privacy as it is a matter of good manners. We are concerned with quiet, but we are more concerned with best serving our whole population.
Quiet, manners, privacy and customer service are all equally important in our eyes.