Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Etiquette rules set for libraries

Books generic
The code would ban loud or offensive phone calls among other things

Loud telephone conversations and general unruly behaviour in Norfolk's libraries has led councillors to call for stricter rules for users.

A group set up by Norfolk County Council has recommended the introduction of a code of conduct about etiquette in libraries.

The code would ban loud or offensive phone calls, the consumption of hot food and drink and computer "misuse".

But it is not aimed at returning to the days of total silence, the group said.

'Traffic signs'

In a report for the council, the working party said Norfolk libraries were "not as safe and welcoming" as they would like.

The code of conduct could also see the introduction of library "traffic signs", including an image of a "line through a beef burger or a skateboard" to make users understand what is not allowed.

But the committee said it did not want a return to "a mythical Victorian age" where no-one was allowed to speak.

Their report said: "We are not impressed by the oft-proposed false choice between the present situation with its attendant problems of anti-social behaviour and a return to a mythical Victorian age of libraries with huge 'silence' signs, no computers, DVDs and few users."

"This is not the only alternative to tolerating unruly and anti-social behaviour."

The report was due to be considered by councillors on Tuesday.

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