Bad Sign

Hot on the heels of my post about libraries trusting patrons, and writing a sentence about drinks (gasp!) in our buildings, I walk into a local library and see this sign. Does this make anyone else as sad as it does me? Why does this library want to treat their patrons like children? Clearly there are much nicer ways of getting this point across. My favorite part of this sign is the miniscule “thank you” at the end of the message, put there as if forced, or even patronizing. The font they used is so small, you’ll likely have to click through to flickr to see a larger sized image. Look at the weight they’ve given to the “NO” in comparison to the “thank you”. This is what user hostility looks like.

25 thoughts on “Bad Sign”

  1. Good for you Aaron, particulary the cell phone photo bit. That sort of response belongs to last century. Libraries are struggling a little these days, so within reason we need to encourage library use. This does the exact opposite.

  2. I triple-dog-dare ya to go back to that library and replace the sign with one that says:

    “Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, READ THIS SIGN!” (With a teeny-tiny “Thank you” at the end, of course.)

  3. While the spirit of the sign may be in bad taste, the message is one that needs to be followed in the library, in my opinion. Where I work, it’s not uncommon for someone to sit down and begin conducting business on their cell phone at a high volume, or to be in the middle of a reference transaction and have the patron answer their phone- begin a conversation and completely ignore the fact that we were in the middle of something. It’s disruptive to the other people sitting near you – and i feel like the library could be that last place where you don’t have to hear someone’s conversation. I should also add, that on the food and drinks in my library has lead to a cockroach infestation that is absolutely disgusting. So, while we should be trying to get people to use the library, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask patrons to follow some simple rules to keep the place welcoming to everyone. I guess I’m sort of a stickler.

  4. There are better ways of saying what needs to be said. the no food and drinks is ridiculous. We encourage students to eat in our library. As far as a roach problem, the problem is with the staff cleaning the library!

  5. Maybe the library had to print a sign like that because no one listened when library staff politely asked everyone to turn off their phones! People today (particularly teens) are down right rude when it comes to using cell phones in public. You could be standing in a line at a store, walking through an aisle, whatever….and you cannot help but hear their conversations.. stories of their love life, sexual activities, comments on other girls’ outfits and a bombardment of “OH MY GODs!” Perhaps the other people in the library don’t want to hear it either. I wish all stores, movie theaters, doctor’s offices, banks, everywhere would put up similar signs!

  6. If my library had a sign like that one, maybe I wouldn’t have to say the same damn thing 800 times a day. Libraries have rules. Why abandon the rules (and common courtesy) because a greater number of patrons feel free to ignore them?

  7. I have a “Thank you for not Feeding the bugs-no food or drink in the library-except Water bottles.” sign for my students.

  8. Yeah! Why are only the cell phones prohibited from eating or drinking in the library?

    What about the PDA’s and the laptops?

    Are they allowed to eat and drink there?

  9. I have to agree that the sign is rude but I understand the sentiment. We have recently been waging a losing war against cell phones and food in our library. I have had students bring in cafeteia trays with full meals on them when the staff person at the door was distracted with other patrons. It is also true that frequently you need to tell the same patron several times to obey the rule. I think the librarian in question had just had enough and lost their temper. Cheers.

  10. While I understand the resentment at having such a sign displayed in a library(of all places), perhaps that library is in such a town as mine. Our Main Library, as nice as it is, is in the middle of a decaying downtown area, and, by law, cannot deny entrance to the homeless and bums that use the building merely as shelter. There are a great number of ‘patrons’ that come in and sit in the comfy, overstuffed furniture and carry on conversations on cell phones or just merely stink the place up. This is not elitist diatribe, these folks are not even reading or anything. And while the poor librarians are constantly coming by and ‘shushing’ these people, as soon as they are gone, everything starts back up. Where do they get cell phones, anyway?……….

  11. It is easy to agree the sign is very poorly done.

    Working in a large urban downtown public library, I can certainly understand the frustration they feel.

    We began allowing food in the library 11 years ago. At the time I think the policy makers assumed “normal” courteous public behavior. Sadly, we are seeing a new definition of normal and it is not pretty.

    We are considering trying to find a way to communicate our expectations of customer behavior. I hope the end result will be a more positive message, but one that will help us in keeping, or some would say returning, our library as a welcoming, safe and clean building for customers.

    Based on alot of comments we are hearing directly and indirectly the word is out, and many, many people are no longer comfortable spending time in our building. That is a very sad state of affairs.

    (We have 1 – 3 security guards in the building at all times)

  12. The NOISE generated by stupid rules goes to the heart of the worst library stereotypes — We anarchists are not alone in the library and universe. Thanx.

  13. my family is mean like they say something and you cant hear them they get all mad and they start throwing stuff please help me find a sultion

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