The Importance of Signage in Libraries

As a library administrator, you naturally want your library to be more than just a collection of books–you want it to be a vibrant hub of learning, research, and social interaction. That’s what your visitors want when they come to the library, as well. But if someone comes through the doors and can’t find visual cues to find what they are looking for, they will feel intimidated at best, and turn around and leave at worst. This is where proper signage comes in. Let’s talk about the ways good signage can improve the library experience.

Types of Signage to Consider

There are several types of signage that serve different purposes within a library. Understanding these differences is key to creating an effective signage system.

  • Directional Signage: These signs guide users around the library. They show the way to different sections, resources, facilities like restrooms, and exits.
  • Informational Signage: These signs provide information about specific areas or resources. For example, they might explain how to use a self-checkout machine or the rules for a quiet study area.
  • Identification Signage: These signs identify specific areas, such as the children’s section, reference area, or circulation desk.
  • Safety Signage: These signs are important for emergencies. They include fire exit signs, first aid signs, and other safety-related signs.

How Library Signage Improves User Experience

The size, visibility, and strategic placement of signage in your library plays a vital role in user experience. Let’s explore some of the specific benefits.

Facilitating Navigation

One of the main purposes of signage is to help users navigate the facility. Libraries house thousands of books, periodicals, and other resources–often contained on multiple floors on hundreds of shelves. Clear, visible signs that indicate different sections, categories, and services can help patrons find what they need quickly and efficiently.

Promoting Services and Resources

Your library offers a wide range of services and resources, from research assistance to digital databases, that many patrons may not even know exist. Strategic signage can effectively promote these services and resources to help visitors find and use them. For instance, a sign near the entrance could highlight new services you offer and where to find them. Similarly, signs near computers can inform patrons about how to log on, access directories, etc.

Enhancing Accessibility

For patrons with disabilities, navigating a library can be particularly challenging. Signs with large, readable fonts, contrasting colors, and braille can make the library more accessible to everyone and promote inclusivity. The ADA actually has certain regulations for compliant signage, including how high to place the signs, font properties, color contrasts, etc.

Reinforcing Brand Identity

Yes, even libraries need a brand identity–and your signage can be created to reflect that brand. Consistent use of colors, fonts, and logos across all signs can create a cohesive visual experience that reflects the library’s aesthetic, mission and values. This can even strengthen the library’s image in the community, fostering a sense of trust and loyalty among patrons.

Ensuring Safety

Last but not least, signage is crucial for ensuring safety in libraries. Signs can guide patrons toward emergency exits, indicate restricted areas, and remind users of library rules. By clearly communicating essential safety information, your signage can assist in maintaining a secure and orderly environment. (Your local municipality will also have guidance on proper safety signage.) With proper design and consistent, thoughtful placement of library signage, you will greatly improve the experience of your users and help make your library a safe, welcoming place for all. If your library signage doesn’t yet meet your expectations or those of your visitors, Creative Library Concepts can help. Reach out to us for more information.

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