or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Two Examples of Doing Things Well

   April 25th, 2012 Brian Herzog

I don't post nearly enough instances of Things Done Well (check out Walking Paper for lots of examples), but here are two things I saw recently that deserve attention:

Thing One: Ramp-In-Stairs
What I like about this is that they were designed together, from the start, and not only look nice, but (presumably) work well too. Much better than having a magnificent grand staircase, then a rickety wooden ramp up the side, or worse, a sign saying "ramp access around the back."

stairs with ramp built in

It's similar to deliberately designing websites and catalogs that look good and work well on multiple browsers at multiple screen resolutions. The best approach, I think, is starting from the ground up with responsive web design (à la Canton (MI) Library, à la One-Pager), instead of trying to backward-hack mobile-compatibility in after the fact, or just tacking a mobile-friendly site on in parallel to your main website.

Thing Two: Domino's Engine Noises
So apparently, Domino's delivers pizza via scooter in the Netherlands, but the scooters were so quiet that cyclists couldn't hear them. To help prevent accidents, Domino's added a "motor" sound to the scooters - but instead of just a typical engine noise, they had fun with it:

[video link]

Awesome, because it not only serves the purpose of an audible warning, but it's also extremely well-done audible advertising - it's funny, attention-getting, memorable, and shows an unexpectedly playful side of an otherwise perhaps impersonal company.

When libraries start delivering items to people via scooters, this would be a great thing to try - the engine noise could be "vrrrlibrarylibrarylibrary BOOKS librarylibrarylibrarylibrary DVDs librarylibrary..."



Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



Library Signs, Good and Bad

   April 24th, 2008 Brian Herzog

Bad Library SignNow that April 15th has passed, I've started taking down my library's tax forms display, and all the signs in the library pointing to it.

I found the sign pictured here taped to the library's front door, which got me thinking about good and bad library signs. This is definitely a bad sign - questionable colors, second sign taped over top, and remnants of tape from when it was hung last year. I hadn't noticed this one before, which is what I get for using the staff entrance (we should all use the patron entrance more often to see what the public sees). I'm all for recycling, but we can definitely do better.

When it comes to signs, I think the fewer the better. Over the last two years, I have secretly been taking down signs in my library - no one has seemed to notice, and the library looks a lot cleaner.

I'm always interested in signs and marketing, so here are other examples of good and bad library signs - check out the Library Signage flickr group for more:

Good

Bad

  • Don't Touch Sign - not only overly-negative, but counter-productive
  • No Cutting or Gluing - I guess the sign just supports a policy, so it's actually the policy I don't understand
  • Don't Move Tables - I don't like how totally inflexible this one is; librarians don't always think of everything
  • Turn Off Cell Phone! - way too negative! And emphatic!
  • Cell Phones are Silent - I like the funny graphic, and that the words don't outlaw cell phones entirely, but I'm not a fan of the big red circle-slash, and in this case it sends a mixed message


Tags: , , , , , , ,