Category Archives: signage

Tumblr for Library Signage

I put together a little site for library signage pictures over at Tumblr. Please feel free so make an anonymous submission  I’m hoping that it includes both wonderful pictures and passive -aggressive pictures.  The idea for this space is inspired by the work of Andy and his A View From Your Desk as well as Nicole’s Librarian Wardrobe.


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Signage: Better None Than Bad

Applause are in order for my friend, and co-founder of the Deskset, Leah White for her article in American Libraries.  In this beautiful crafted piece, Leah outlines the place of library signage in the library world.  She states,

Many librarians and administrators agree that it’s important to communicate that the library is a pleasant and studious institution, but sign-makers go astray when they create signage in an effort to shift blame or passive-aggressively punish users for presuming they have certain rights while using the library. Such negative signage insults our patrons instead of guiding them or communicating policies in a positive and efficient manner. A well-written sign, inviting and creatively designed, can do so much; an insulting sign has the potential to do more damage than good.

It is very true.  Good signage is a godsend, but poorly crafted signage insults and turns-off patrons.  Well done Leah!

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Passive Aggressive Library Signs

As a previous post discussed, Dominican University’s Crown Library loves passive aggressive library signs.  Well, they have some new a horribly offensive library signs.  And the week they decide to post these is during National Library Week.  These signs definitely warrant display over at the passive aggressive library sign post over at buzzfeed. The signs, seen below, obstruct the entrance to the library.

I really enjoy the use of exclamation points, all caps, and redundant language.  The best part is point four “Limit computer time to one hour if you are not doing work (that means Facebook, Twitter, email, games, etc.)”.  Not to mention how out of touch with the institution this sign is, but what about the fact that the Library of Congress thinks that Twitter is important enough that they are Twitter’s archive. Or how about the fact that many of us are researching social media and communication tools and in terms of information behavior or informational retrieval.

The best part is that many of the classes in the Graduate School of Library and Information talk about how bad these signs are.  Not only does this continue to perpetuate a poor image of the library, but it shows a strong lack of trust in the patrons, and devalues their (my) forms of communication, socialization and entertainment.

Maybe instead of creating signs like this, the library could focus on improving ILL (up to a month to receive an article), collections (GSLIS is not supported electronically by many of the core journals (Library Trends for example), e-reserves,  cataloging integrity (Pauline Atherton Cochran gave a guest talk to the doctoral students today and declared Dominican’s catalog as pathetic [for example she has two authority entries]) or collections.

Enjoy the signs:

Love the all caps, are you yelling at me?

The welcome to the library sign?  Nope, might as well say get out.

This shows the sign, and the same sign ten feet in at the staircase.  Just so you really get the message!  And what is the message?  I will leave that for you to decide.


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