4 thoughts on “Signage”

  1. Clearly we are divided, as a profession and a society, on this issue. I recently edited the LISwiki article on cell phones in libraries. I thought the way the article was previously written seemed rather one-sided toward the “cell phones are evil” viewpoint.

    Due to a number of complaints by a vocal minority of patrons, this became a big issue in our library. Rules making blanket prohibitions of technologies in order to avoid occasional problems, rather than deal with them seem foolish. But too often we just want the problems to go away — alas, it’s not that simple.

    It certainly increased the local readership on my blog, though!

  2. Yes they are evil! Actually talking in the usual LOUD voice best suited for outdoors is and always will be against everything a library stands for-the one quiet place to read left it seems. OK more than read but you get what I mean.

  3. Michael, your constant mocking of libraries and their anti-cell phone rules is getting tedious. No, I do not believe that cell phones should be banned, I believe that loud talking should be banned. When is the last time you actually got out of your “ivory tower” and worked in a public library? Most people I see in the library using their cell phone are arguing with their BF or GF, or making plans for dinner, at the top of their lungs. If they would stop drawing attentiont to themselves, no one would care. The texters and bloggers who are sitting quietly in those “no cell phone” libraries probably have not problems.

  4. Libraries are places of inclusiveness for all individuals. To simply exclude a group of patrons because they use their cell phones, possibly not even to talk on, isn’t being inclusive at all.

    To some, a cell phone is a lifeline to the world. To communicate to friends, family, and loved ones – to share what they know, maybe what they’re learning at that moment in the library. I think we all can see that mobile phones are helping create a kind of interconnectiveness in ways we couldn’t have really predicted.

    Obviously, as a profession we are adjusting to A LOT right now. From the technology, to our philosophies of librarianship and service, and also our place in society. Understandably, we will need to adjust to cell phones in our library as they are nearly ubiquitous to a person as shoes are.

    How we adjust is the key.

    Terry, I nearly agree with you on every point made.

    Mike, I, too, agree with you – outdoor voices shouldn’t be permitted in the library. It is an institution traditionally related to study and quietness, but it is also a place of community, both digitally and in real-life. Libraries create social spaces for communities; I believe they can make the same adjustments for mobile phone users.

    Jamie – Michael and his readers’ submitted photos of no cell phone signage illustrate a larger problem in librarianship than I think you give these simple pictures credit for. While the picture may “read” “no cell phones,” it also illustrates that some libraries are more willing to hide behind signs than think about, discuss, and plan for a resolution to a supposed problem and engage in dialogue.

    Additionally, your stab at Michael for working in higher education is shameful. I’ve personally had the opportunity to learn from him. His lectures come to life as he discusses the trials and tribulations he experienced as a public librarian. Furthermore, Michael’s speaking appearances aren’t just “gigs” as I assume you might perceive them. Throughout his travels he has been able to engage in discussions and learn from librarians across several continents and in multiple areas of the profession – to say he is stuck in “Ivory Towers” is the ultimate fallacy.

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