Category Archives: Signage in Libraries

No MySpace Please



No MySpace Please, originally uploaded by Jeff Kreger.

Jeff writes: A little more background. That picture is from a branch connected to a High School. There is security at the branch all day and even the local sheriffs stopping by after school lets out to make sure everything is in order. We have 32 public PCs and they felt not enough staff to keep watch. Complaints were made about students grouping around the machines and making noise so the decision was made between our director and the schools superintendent to not allow anyone to use it. I get a chuckle out of the whole thing!


French Fry in the Library

The school in l.a. where anna works is under renovation, so a lot of the kids cut through the library on their way to and from the cafeteria. recently, one of these fine young scholars spilled an entire basket of fries…and kept walking. one of anna’s coworkers picked them up, but he missed one. another coworker posted this note.

awesome shoes, dude

the amazing thing, says anna, is that the sign actually worked. “the student came in, took responsibility and even apologized.” happy meals all around!

Removed Library Signs

Removed Library Signs | Originally uploaded by herzogbr

Brian Herzog posts at Flickr:

These are some of the signs I’ve taken down (without telling anyone) around my library since I’ve worked here. I think an uncluttered area is nicer, and that fewer good signs is better than lots of signs that no one reads.

And he has a GREAT post about Good Signs & Bad Signs in libraries. Read the post here:

He also links to this most infamous sign from Michael Sauers.

Are you following the SAL? It’s a keeper.

Find Romance…

Brad Czerniak writes to TTW:

Anyway, seeing your most recent post in the series regarding signage, I was immediately reminded of a sign at my “work library”. It reads, “Find Romance by the Fireplace.” Context: Our romance novel section was relocated to pucks [obviously] by a fireplace. Now, in the old section (which now houses CD-ROMS of all things), we wanted to indicate where the items were moved to. Hence, the sign. Hope you enjoy this — have a great day!

Thanks Brad! Great sign – fun, encouraging AND useful to users. TTW readers, please keep those signage examples coming.

TTW Guest Post: Cell Phone Sign at Loyola

Dominican GSLS Student Katharine Johnson writes:

Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining LISSA (Dominican University’s library student group) for a tour of Loyola University’s new Information Commons located on their Lake Shore Campus.  In short, the place is incredible.  A bookless extension of their library, whoa!  Three floors of computer terminals, many of which are located on long tables to encourage group study and/or spreading out all your books.  Tall ceilings, bright work spaces, fully wired, completely green, and a breathtaking frozen-lake view.

The first two floors encourage discussion among students, the third floor is considered the quiet floor and asks for all cell phones to be turned off.  I discovered this sign, which I found to be a bit avant-garde for any library, though it fit so well in context.

Loyola Sign

TTW Mailbox: Zones at Oak Park Public Library (updated)


Monica Harris, Young Adult Librarian, at Oak Park Public Library shares information about their new zoned system for noise:

Dear Michael – I’m attaching PDF files of our brochure, key, and signage explaining the noise zones so you can get a better idea of what it looks like. The brochure includes a color coded map that will show how the space is divided.

Our intention was to create a library space that the wide variety of users, from those who want total silence to those here to attend boisterous programming and meet with friends, can have a place they feel comfortable in. Since our main issue for our patrons was noise (the library was too loud, or there weren’t enough places where their group felt comfortable talking) we made the noise zones defined by behavior that patrons could control and made three designations: silent, quiet, social.

There are several University libraries in the UK employing this kind of system. We took the opportunity to evaluate our services and attach our own qualifiers and standards, and develop our own promotional material. As I’m sure you can see from the maps in the brochure, the majority of our library is a Green/Social space.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this considering your position in evaluating the cell phone signage of the world. :) It has been pretty successful thus far, but we are always open to creating ways to make it better.


I’m intrigued by this. It looks well-thought and offers spaces for all type of interaction .Some questions:

Can I text in a SILENT zone?

Is there a group technology center area for foks who might want to be SOCIAL while working together on computers, etc?

It seems that RED is the color for SILENT at OPPL and elsewhere! I have mixed feelings about that. I need to mull it over some more. I do appreciate the acknowledgement that cell usage is okay in the library setting, with words such as “considerate.” That’s a far cry from this:

Thanks for sharing, Monica!

More detail here:

Green Light AreaZone DetailMap of OPPL


Ellen Hampton at Baylor commnets:

We started a similar system at Baylor this semester (our signs went up right around finals) – but it was phrased a little differently. Our zones were 1) Monastery Quiet, 2) Nature Film Narrator Quiet and 3) Nice Restaurant Quiet.

Pictures here and here.

Our students responded really well and love the signs. When the email went out to campus with the info, dozens of students emailed the dean of the libraries saying how much they loved the humor of the different zones of quiet, and that they wished the library wrote all of the all-campus emails.