There aren’t many things more tragic in a library than a flood. When our ceiling gave way last week to a giant black waterfall over our bound journals and public area, we could hardly believe our eyes. We’re still assessing the damage, but in the meantime, we have plastic sheeting hiding more than half of the library, loud noises, and confused patrons. It was time to present a unified message to ease the communication about what happened.
I wanted to keep the feeling of these signs in tune with our overall aesthetic and color scheme, and I wanted every person who enters the library to see them. I used the water droplet for the obvious reason that it graphically represents the gallons of water that flooded us, but I can also see it as a tear, and there were certainly a few of those as we sloshed through the mess last week.
I placed these half-sheet signs on all of the tables we have available. The message is light, helpful, and thankful.
On the front desk, I placed this larger sign to explain things a little more in details and to help our staff with the right words to say to patrons.
Finally, we are because we quickly realized that our limited space is not enough to fill the needs of our patrons (a nice problem because it illustrates our usefulness), I created this quick half-page handout to point out other computer areas nearby:
Of course this design doesn’t do much to make us feel better about what is happening in our library, but it does serve an important role, and does it better than a hastily printed sign might.
I hope you don’t ever have a need for these signs, but if you do, email me for the original files.
October 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm
Oh no! This is so sad, but I do think that your signs are sending the right messages along though! Good luck!
March 4, 2014 at 9:03 pm
This is horrible! Are your resources ruined? What about your books?
March 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm
Hi Alexandra, see my follow up post here: https://librariandesignshare.org/2014/02/11/flood-of-information/. We were lucky to have a contract with Blackmon Mooring that allowed us to freeze dry all the wet bound journals. We lost some, but the majority survived.