Recently I spent a morning with the web committee at the University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library. My thoughtful host told me that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s main library – the flagship of the whole program – was across the street. Clearly I had to take a peek.

The Hillman Library was a comfortable space and I wondered how the one across the street would compare. It compared favorably! Here’s some stuff I found impressive.

These signs appear over service desks. I noticed them right away though my gut tells their height might reduce their overall visibility. Regardless, “ask a librarian” is a much better solution than “reference” or “information” or even “help.”
askalibrarian

Okay, so I think 99.9% of taped up 8.5″ x 11″ paper signs are a bad idea, yes. But this one struck my fancy. It is engagingly humorous and with its plain shapes and bold colors it has an attractive look.
boring

A positively worded regulatory sign. While it would probably be better for library members if the rule didn’t exist, this is about as nice of a way to express the rule as possible.
food

The extra words on the sign are pretty powerful. They turn a sign that’s fine looking but completely blah into one that engages the reader as a human and makes a connection. Really nice.
self-checkout

Checkout how the marble stairs have worn. That’s a good usage statistic!
stairs