CSI Librarians Discuss Signage at LACUNY Annual Winter meeting

On December 12, the Library Association of CUNY (LACUNY) had the honor of inviting two of our very own CSI librarians, Professor Amy F. Stempler and Professor Mark Aaron Polger to be keynote speakers at the LACUNY Annual Winter Meeting. Their presentation, “Counting the Signs: A Library Signage Audit Examining Language, Branding, and Design,” was eagerly anticipated by the rest of CUNY.  Questions including, what constitutes an effective sign?, Is there a correlation between sign clarity and student use of material?, Is our own current signage effective?, were explored in detail based on a 2009 study performed at our very own CSI campus which focused on measuring both the user friendliness of the permanent ceiling boxed signage as well as student understanding of language of signs within the library.

The findings of this study showed that many directional and regulatory inconsistencies exist within a library system. Based on survey responses, the process of information retrieval within the library was both simplified and redesigned in order to make it friendlier as well as less confusing to users. While most participants found the signage in the library to be “user friendly” and “easily understood,” a few changes were made in regards to helping students find library material.

Their presentation also discussed both permanent and temporary “in-house” signs and broke them into three categories; policy, informational, and directional. They  addressed timely issues such as placement, language, clutter, design, and branding.  They concluded with a lively Q&A from attendees on best practices for developing effective signage.

Elizabeth Hicks, Assistant Professor
CSI Representative for LACUNY
Evening/Weekend Instruction Librarian