Ten Signs I Hope I Never See in Libraries Again

I’ve been thinking a lot about stories lately. I’ve even used the phrase “What story is your library telling?” as an IM away message. So imagine the synchronicity, when into the TTW comment bin comes a nice pointer to a post by Phyllis at “Something New Everyday” — she’s adapted Brenda Hough’s eight training tips for her library: “Eight Tips for Learning in a Changing World,” including this “Look for the story that exists in every situation.”

It reminded me of the images we’ve seen snapped in some libraries of some not very friendly signage mostly about cell phones. Remember, putting up a sign in your library is sending a message to your users — and it’s a story we are telling too.

Take a look at the images below, some from my travels and others from some friends who agreed to let me blog them (they’re clickable!) and think about the story these libraries are telling users. Take a walk around your library and look for the messages and stories you’re sending to users via signage, etc. And think about the reasons the signs went up in the first place: policy? one bad egg that caused a knee-jerk reaction? fear?

How might we change these stories?

Not Library 2.0
Courtesy of Michael Sauers Travelin’ Librarian

No Cell Phones

Not library 2.0
Courtesy of Michael Sauers Travelin’ Librarian

Turn Off Cell Phones

bad sign
Courtesy of Aaron Schmidt Walking Paper

No Skateboards
See this for more.

No Cell Phones

library sign
Courtesy of David King www.davidleeking.com/

No pets or phones

And get a load of this one:

Courtesy of Kokeshi http://rich.headsnet.com/

Here’s the “After” shot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kokeshi/102990238

Some successes:



I hope to see more signs like these in the future:

Tour of Seattle Public Library 4/06


Library Marketing! Well done!

Need Help? Have A Question?

At Toronto Reference Library

Let’s build spaces and places that are welcoming and invite collaboration and throw in some cool technology to foster that as well. I am not saying we throw out all the rules, but let’s look closely at the rules we have any we are thinking about..and make sure they begin with the user.

Let me know what you think. And thanks to Michael, Aaron, Richard and David for sharing!

Don’t miss Michael’s 2.0 set at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelinlibrarian/sets/72057594081537084/