Discussion: Signage

ACRL/NY User Experience Discussion Group

“Signage Audits”

Date: March 23,  2012

Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm

Place: Grad Center, CUNY

Co-Chairs: Mark Aaron Polger and Albert Tablante


Present: Danise Hoover,  V. Heidi Hass, Faithe Ann Scobbo, Mark Aaron Polger, Albert Tablante, Simone Yearwood, Derek Sanderson, David Jenson, Linda Miles


Co-Chairs: Albert Tablante, Mark Aaron Polger,  Unofficial Meeting Notes: Mark Aaron Polger


  1. The group went around the table and introduced themselves. Each person contributed to the start of the discussion by explaining why they were interested in the discussion topic.
  2. Polger started to discussion and asked the group if anyone is going through a signage audit. Yearwood (QC) is Access Services Librarian at Queens College Library, CUNY and they are going through a major renovation project so they have the opportunity to evaluate signage.  Derek Sanderson (Mount Saint Mary College) serves on a signage committee, and Danise Hoover (Hunter College Library) deals with signage on a User Experience Committee at her library. Hunter College Library is also undergoing a renovation by changing the orientation of the entrance from the 3rd floor to 7th Mark Aaron Polger (CSI) talked about his recent signage audit with his colleague and discussed some of the issues involved.
  3. Each attendee spoke whether they have a signage committee at their library, or whether they participate in a signage committee, or whether a signage committee exists out of a larger committee.
  4. Some of the problems that relate to signage are:
    Too much signage
    4b. Conflicting messages
    4c. Students don’t read/respect/understand signs
    4d. Lack of consistent design, style
  5. Polger talked about his signage audit he worked on with his colleague at the College of Staten Island Library. They divided signs into different types (informational, policy, directional). They then developed a style guide that discussed best practices for font type, font colour, font size, branding issues, colour scheme, and placement of the library logo.  Danise Hoover talked about how each floor of the Hunter College Library is colour coded and the signs also reflect the different floor colour.  Polger also emphasized that he is trying to develop signs that do not contain the words “no”.
  6. The group discussed their use of policy signage for food, drink, cell phone use, and noise. Some libraries allow food and drink, while other libraries do not.   One person noted that they took photos of the garbage and food leftovers and posted signs that indicate, “Be proud of your library, don’t let your library look like this” (relating to photos of garbage and food leftovers).  These subtle messages may be viewed as both helpful and educational, or subtly manipulative.  The group ended the discussion by discussing a larger problem; student behaviour in the library.  The bigger discussion is; should librarians and libraries be responsible for addressing student behaviour?   In order to respect signs, students need to know HOW to behave in college libraries.  Discussion group adjourned at 5:30pm.
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