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Signs About Sound

A couple of weeks ago we asked for submissions about sound, and you delivered! We received three sound-specific submissions, all of which take a different design approach. It’s worth noting that in spite of these differences, the first two of our featured submissions make use of the red, yellow, green color scheme to denote acceptable noise levels within the library. The last, designed for digital signage, uses large eye-catching text and simple icons to get the message across.

The first submission is from Brenda Sevigny-Killen at the Bennett D. Katz Library – University of Maine at Augusta.

Sign that reads "Silent Zone" in a library.

Brenda had this to say about her signs:

After our library greatly deaccessioned our reference materials, we opened up space for collaborative study areas with rolling whiteboards, chairs & tables, and comfort seating.  To encourage collaborative use of this new space, staff designed signs to promote the new area.  We also designed a sign for the quiet area since the multiple tables for 6 falsely encouraged noisy collaboration. There are times when we have to redirect groups to the collaborative zone so this space remains sacred for silent study. This project has been hugely successful and we now find we need much more collaborative space as more and more students find sanctity and camaraderie within the library walls.  Another happy side effect is getting to know more of our students and subtly infusing a atmosphere of support, care, and staff dedication which we hope contributes to their success.

IMG_2201

Brenda’s posters were designed in Publisher and are available in our Google Drive.

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Erin McCoy at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Massachusetts submitted designs that she created in Canva.

I was inspired by a recent conversation on a list serve to take a look at signs for “sound expectations” – I like the one in the google drive, so I decided to riff on it in Canva for those of us without Adobes or Publisher skills.

Our library is one big room, that is square, so it’s hard to place signage and to communicate where the different zones are, so we’ll see how this goes!

 

 

Kudos to Erin for tackling the challenge of signage for the one-room library layout! You can find the complete set of Erin’s signage on the Librarian Design Share Google Drive.

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Our final submission is from Lauri Miller at the Paul & Harriett Mack Library in Bethlehem, PA. Lauri created her sign through Google Slides and used icons from one of my favorite resources, The Noun Project.

Here is my submission about sound levels in the library. I created it in Google Slides which feeds the digital sign in our lobby. The sign flips between slides, so I tried to keep it brief, understandable, and eye catching the foot traffic in and out of the library.  The cell phone icon is by Creative Stall, and the earbud icon is by Erman Tutan. Both are from nounproject.com.

cell phones on silent signage

Thanks to Brenda, Erin, and Lauri for their submissions. Remember, you can submit your own work to feature or request feedback at any time. All submitted work will be published on this site under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

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In need of Submissions about Sound

Many responsibilities of library employees are opaque to our patrons, but the public has in mind that one of our day-to-day responsibilities is maintaining the library’s quiet environment.  My family makes frequent jokes about my proclivity towards shushing, which I argue is 100% false.  However, it is true that to be an environment that allows people to read, study, and research the library must maintain a certain level of muted sound.

I imagine that many of us are engaged in a balancing act of meeting patron’s varying needs for space for group work and silent study.  That’s why we are interested in the flyers, signs, and other materials that you use to communicate your library’s noise levels and environment to patrons –  the formal, informal, and funny!  Or if you have a work-in-progress that needs some feedback from other librarians, send it here too.  We’re looking forward to seeing the various ways that our community designs around this library phenomenon.

 

Keepin’ It Quiet

It’s cold in the Mid-Atlantic y’all. I’m trying to unfreeze my fingers by typing this morning, and what better way to warm up my joints than by sharing designs that tackle an issue we all wrestle with in our respective libraries: Noise. The best of libraries are filled with people reading and chatting, studying and collaborating, and this dual use can often pose a problem when some of our patrons want to converse and others want extended silence. I’ve found myself at either end of this spectrum (as I’m sure we’ve all been). I’ve been shushed and gotten the stink-eye from students for talking too loudly, and I’ve had to ask students to turn down their beats because everyone in their section of the library can hear the tunes blasting from their headphones.

Designating certain areas of the library as different noise level zones can help alleviate some of these noise conflicts, but good signage is key. Patrons need to be aware of the noise level preferred in different parts of the library, which is why I like this great submission by Michael Hughes, Instruction Librarian at the Coates Library at Trinity University.

Noise Level Signage
Noise Level Signage – Coates Library – Trinity University

Michael adapted the following graphic from the University of California, San Francisco Libraries (with permission) and incorporated a free icon into the design.

Noise Level Signage
Original Noise Level Signage – University of California, San Francisco Libraries

As an alternative, Michael also created the following sign, which, although busier, takes the same theme and adds a new twist on it.

Quit Study

What I love about all of these noise level signs and posters is the neutrality of language. Instead of “noisy” we see the terms “conversational study” or “active learning,” which I think motivates patrons to remain respectful of those around them.

As an alternative, we have these submissions from İpek Yarar at MEF University Library in Istanbul, Turkey, which I think do a nice job of using humor to kindly relay a message for noise control. All three feature an iconic Charlie Chaplin movie still.

Please be quiet

CC-Quiet-2

CC-Quiet-1

Do you have noise level signage at your library? What designs work best for your patrons?

You can find Michael’s original Photoshop files of his noise level signage and İpek’s printable signage (originally created with Adobe InDesign) on the Library Design Share Google Folder.

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