Friday, December 10, 2010

Signs, Making readable

When creating signs for their patrons, librarians should be mindful to avoid library jargon.  You can also make a more deliberate attempt to speak your patrons' language by intentionally inserting grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, and unnecessary punctuation on your BROKE printers, out of order ELEVATOR'S, and KEEP AT "REF DESK" scissors. 

Ask the readers: What poorly written signs are hanging in your library?

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I simultaneously want to LOL because it's so true & cry because it's so true. Signed, an Ex-Editor

Anonymous said...

My head librarian doesn't believe in signs. He says that people who come to libraries don't read.

Anonymous said...

"These tables are reserved for use with materials in this room."

Anonymous said...

sad

Anonymous said...

Female washrooms/ Male washrooms

Anonymous said...

I have worked in two libraries where the directors don't believe in signage. What is up with this hatred of signage in libraries? Even if the patrons don't read the signs, they still help staff members maneuver and direct patrons.

Dennis said...

Worked at a university library where the director had latched on to an idea that in a library "The space should explain itself". Of course the director took a personal interest in every single sign.

This was confusing as all hell in a building designed and built for a university of 5,000 students that had 19,000 by my time, several extensions tacked on, and extensive internal repartitioning of the space.

Current place of work: as a systems guy the thing I hate is scrappy, hand written out-of-order notices. No excuse when there's a nice looking Word template available that's less effort to print than making a scrappy sign by hand.

Anonymous said...

Sign: Please ask us if you need help.

Don't know if anyone went to the ref desk and asked "Do I need help?"

Anonymous said...

We do in fact have a notebook for people to sign up for the "study room's." It takes all my willpower every day not to be a total asshole and take a red pen to it.

Anonymous said...

"Please place on these trolleys books to be returned which have not been borrowed"

Anonymous said...

In lieu of a printed sign, some bad verbal direction: when one of our former librarians gave elementary school kids a tour of the library, she misidentified the unisex bathroom as the bisexual bathroom.

Anonymous said...

Our copier flashes the words "The Copier start after warming" if it hasn't been used in a while.

Anonymous said...

"Stairs are located on the outside of the building to the left. Please use stairs to access the second floor."

Sign next to the working elevator.

Anonymous said...

We have multiple signs that read "limit 10 Cd's per card." The worst part is, a senior librarian put them up without noticing the error. It makes me die a little on the inside every time I see one. Someday I will tear them all down, and damn them if they ask me to make more to correct the error!

finally_a_librarian said...

We have 2 coin-operated-only copiers. The instructions on one says "insent coins." The other one says "insert key card."

Anonymous said...

I once worked with a sign-addicted coworker. Signs for everything. Quotes. Unattended children warnings. Upcoming events. DO NOT RESHELVE BOOKS!!!!! We had opposite shifts. About once a week a sign would “accidently” fall off and rip, and I would toss it into the recycling bin. I got rid of a lot of signs that way.

Anonymous said...

DO NOT "PROP" DOOR OPEN

Anonymous said...

Please pull gently to avoide pulling several tickets.

AND

Please write only on ONE SIDE of each R.B.C form for each item you are requesting.

Anonymous said...

New DVD's

Seriously, is it that hard a concept to get that an apostrophe plus an s ('s) denotes a possessive, not a plural?!

Anonymous said...

Back in the day when we paid per search plus time online for OCLC records, my boss would go through the panicky ritual: close the door tight just before going online. On the door the sign read in magic marker, "Do Not Distrub"

Pastrami said...

This is a pop-up message on our computers:

Your hold request need additional information.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I'm the one who made the "Cd's" sign. *Sigh* I've fixed it now.

Anonymous said...

This is not a sign. Stop looking.

Anonymous said...

ugly fonts are more memorable.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9360000/9360166.stm

Gwen said...

We have a sign on the microfilm reader that says "This is not a footrest".

Anonymous said...

We ALL love the patrons who try to open the "emergency exit--alarm will sound" door. That piercing alarm will wake the dead.

Anonymous said...

"Please do not use this door. Please use the door next to this door. Or you can use the door on the first floor, but not the door on the right. Only the one on the left. Thank you." At least it is polite ;)

Anonymous said...

As for the CD's/CDs debate, both spellings have merit. Plural abbreviations have traditionally used apostrophes. So it would be CD's but not Compact Disc's. Don't assume people are ignorant of the possessive apostrophe rule. Don't even get me started on it's/its!

Anonymous said...

Mens

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

I am the sole librarian in a department library at a major university .. I have a sign on the back of my monitor ...
PLEASE BOTHER ME.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

I am a solo librarian in a major university dept. library -- i have a sign on the back of my computer monitor .. PLEASE BOTHER ME!

http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

"Please leave this kitchen tidy. Your mother doesn't work here."