The objective of the 1st assignment was “Write a short (maximum 250 words) ethnographic description of your chosen place. Using the ethnographic voice, describe your familiar place as though you are seeing it as an outsider for the first time. Your description should insightfully illuminate the cultural worldview operating implicitly in your familiar place”.
I chose library, because this is a place I visit most often. Here is a longer version of my text written for this assignment:
The library is a place where people can get books for free for certain time, usually for an month. To use this opportunity people need to register at the library first and get an library ticket.
The library is a very quiet place, or at least people try to make it quiet. Often a voice of a librarian can be heard: “Please switch your mobile phone off!” or “Please speak with friends somewhere else”. The library can be divided in two zones – “silent” and “not silent”. To “silent” zone belong reading halls and catalogues, where people can get a rebuke even for whispering something to a friend who sits near. “Not silent” zone are lobbies, corridors between “silent” places, checkrooms. So when one gets for example a phone call, he or she needs to first leave “silent” zone and only then answer.
The behavior of visitors can be different. Some people walk slowly from one bookshelf to another looking at the books and searching something interesting. Other tend to visit some specific groups of bookshelves, for example, with new books, with magazines of current year or with light reading books. Some people know what they want, so they just order a desired book, get it and go away.
Although some people visit a library alone, many groups of people, especially students, can be seen there. They come together to discuss something related to reading and study process, but also some other things. Sometimes (and not rare) “we will go to a library” sounds like “we will go to a cinema”, because both means to do something together, in a group, and to combine some useful and purposeful activity (reading, watching movie) with chatting and socializing. Such group visits to a library are typical mostly for students. Elder people usually come alone.
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