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Ellen Bosman

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Creating a User Friendly Library With Signage:

The Steps

There are seven steps toward creating a user friendly library, as well as improving communication and public image through a signage project:

  1. Identification
  2. Planning
  3. Evaluation
  4. Determination
  5. Testing
  6. Installation
  7. Documentation

Identifying the location and nature of the problem is the first step toward improving library signage. Look around the library. Is the signage problem confined to one area, or is it a universal problem? Examine the signs, are they in need of updating? Is there an overabundance of signs? or, as was our case, there was no coordinated system of signs.

After the location and nature of the signage problem as been identified, the development of a plan is necessary. A plan will provide documentation for administrative purposes and serve as a guide for the entire project. You might begin as we did by including the sign project in an annual plan, setting target dates for completion and forming a committee or appointing a person to oversee the entire project. The clear definition of the project's purpose and goals is essential to its success.

The third step, evaluation, consists of 2 elements:

  1. Examination
  2. Investigation

Researching the library literature, as well as the literatures of psychology, education, and architecture, will give insight into building structures, how people move through buildings, the psychology of signs, and how signs function in libraries. In addition to studying the literatures, visiting other libraries provides a context in which to evaluate signs and may inspire new ideas.

Having established a working knowledge of signage, there are several techniques which can be employed to evaluate signage.

The first method for determining current needs involves removing all existing signage and observing behavioral and traffic patterns. Although this is a great way to remove any signage problem, it is a drastic step.

Conducting a signage inventory is an alternative.

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