3 thoughts on “Oh My!

  • J

    I am just a little confused as to why you post pictures of signs. Posting these pictures without the context of where they are hanging, why they were hung in the first place and who put them there just seems to be really reckless. You put the sign up and then just ask for people to poke fun at them. I agree that there are some bad signs out there and many of them are NOT in libraries. It seems like most of your postings about signs don’t really have much constructive criticism just mean comments. What is the real purpose?

  • Michael

    I usually let the signs tell their own story. It goes back to this post:


    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?

    And this one on trends:


    In my Tech Trends talks, I’ve used an image of the Apple iPhone for this point. I can make a joke or two about personal technolust versus institutional technolust but it does mean something more. The iPod on some level changed the world. The iPhone will as well: user interface, ease of use, pulling together a seamless experience of voice, data, Web. Watch closely.

    From MacWorld comes Analysis: iPhone and the emergence of convergence, in which Glenn Fleischmann writes:

    The next step beyond converged calling is convergence of all devices….For instance, if you’re carrying a suspiciously small, touch-sensitive video player—a forthcoming device made by a company based in Cupertino, Calif., say—you could be watching streaming, on-demand video while riding a train home from work using the on-board Wi-Fi now showing up on many transit systems.

    As you get off the train, the device switches, without noticeable stutter, to the high-speed cell network. The quality of the video drops down as does the audio, but it doesn’t drop. You walk home, your eyes still locked on the screen, and you step in the door, plop this mystery device in a dock attached to your high-definition television, and the service switches over to the 50 Mbps fiber connection to your home, and the video continues, but now in 1080p with 5.1 surround sound.

    How does this impact libraries? A thread running through all of these trends is the idea that the general public to some degree has adopted tools and technologies that allow them to interact with media. This will not stop as prices fall and more folks move to one device for access to information, the collection of data and communication with the world. How will librarians and their services position themselves in this world? Trust me, it won’t be by taping a sign on the door of the library!

  • Not Too Impressed

    None of that addresses the fact that signs posted here (or other similar venues) without explanation or context are basically targets for ridicule or snarky comments by those desperate to seem witty to their cool friends and the world at large. That’s fine if that is the intention, I guess. We all might want to remind ourselves occasionally that actual people create those signs and that they didn’t just spring into existence. Reading a lot too much into it, but I know at least one person hurt by this particular practice.

    Granted, there are a *lot* of bad signs out there. *But*… Just like taking 20 pages out of the middle of a novel doesn’t tell the complete story, a sign posted without any context in this format doesn’t transmit enough information to tell the whole tale.

    My two cents… back to lurkerdom.

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