cell phones in the library

I’m not sure if I would call Dear Abby “the best opinions in the universe” but she’s right on when she says that the reference librarian has no obligation to assist a patron who wouldn’t get off his cell phone to talk with her. We have many patrons with cell phones in our library and a fairly loose policy that states that if your cell phone is disturbing other patrons you may be asked to take it outside into the lobby. I’m becoming the master of saying “Hi, if you’re going to be a while, would you mind taking your conversation out to the lobby? Thank you!” and it’s worked fine for me, but I know other staffers are more timid about approaching patrons who are being noisy on their phones. In our library, it’s just an extension of the “please don’t be noisy” policy which we have most places except the children’s area and upstairs in the classroom. LISNews folks discuss the issue a bit more.