Library Rant #2: The Inability to Read Signs

OK. So I’m not going to tell you that I always read signs. In fact, I recently managed to cancel my vehicle registration at the DMV because I did not read a sign. But, I feel like library patrons are notorious for not reading signs that are right in front of them. I once went to a workshop about this and the guy running it told us that we need to stop being so anal and quit putting up signs for every blessed thing. Well, he didn’t use those exact words, but that’s what he meant. And I completely understand this. I think I will do some serious thinking about this if I get 5 minutes to myself tomorrow at work.

We have yoga classes that start before the library opens. So, granted, there are cars in the lot. And one door is unlocked, but not physically open. The sign on the door clearly says CLOSED. There is a sign next to the closed sign that clearly states what time we open….same time every day. So maybe you miss the closed sign and the hours. You walk into the library and enter a dark hallway. You open the door to the children’s room. Which is also dark. There is one staff member (me) sitting in her office with the light on – clearly highlighting the fact that the rest of the room is dark and no one else is there.

ME: “Um, can I help you?”

Patron: “Hi, are you open?”

ME: (looking around the dark and empty room) “Not yet, no.”

Patron: “Oh, but there were some cars in the lot.”

ME: “Yes, we have yoga classes here that start at nine. The rest of the building is locked down.”

Patron: “Oh, I thought you opened at nine.”

ME: “Nope, 9:30.”

Patron: “Is that something new?”

ME: “Not since the 80’s.”

Patron: “Oh….so can I look for some books?”

ME: (sigh)

One time I was at a library while on vacation – yes, I am that person – and one staff member said to another, “I am going to make a sign that says: PLEASE READ THE SIGNS.” Nice.

But truth be told, we probably do have too many signs. We don’t have much staff, so self-sufficient patrons are helpful. But some people either just don’t notice them or don’t really care or are too overwhelmed by laminated sheets of 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper with words on them to think clearly. And we laminate the bejesus out of stuff.

I will keep this one up though:

People think I’m kidding……


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Filed under Children's, Interesting Patrons, Library

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