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Signs of a welcoming library

Signs of a Welcoming Library
Doug Johnson
Head for the Edge, Library Media Connection, March/April 2010

As students enter the Left Overshoe School Library, they always pass this sign posted boldly by the entrance:



As students enter the Right Overshoe School Library, they always pass this sign, posted boldly by the entrance:



Increasingly information, entertainment and assistance comes to the end-user digitally instead of the end user having to go to the information, entertainment and assistance traditionally found in libraries in analog formats.

Why would anyone go to your library at all if it is not a genuinely welcoming place?




Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 08:22AM by Registered CommenterDoug Johnson | Comments10 Comments

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Reader Comments (10)

I love the idea of the "Right Overshoe School Library". I think that it should be the norm for school libraries. But I wonder how does one transition from the "Left " to the "Right" so to speak? How does one get administration and co-librarians to buy into this idea when there are established practices that have been in place for decades?

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIHill

Hi there,

Library cultures that are formed over years if not decades are not changed overnight, so you question is a good one.

My basic advice is to make sure you have a library advisory committee with teachers, parents and students who can help you formulate rules and set policies for library use. See:


One first step you might take is to keep your current rules, but frame them in more positive ways.

Good luck and let me know if this has helped,


December 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Doug this is an off topic question for an important post, but...where did you find chalkboard template to embed?

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Schiano

Hi Deb,

Hate to disappoint you, but these images are scans of how the column appeared in LMC magazine. It was the publisher's graphic artists that did this good work.



August 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Teachers are always asked to word their classroom rules in a positive statement rather than a negative one. Example : "No eating in class" is changed to "Finish your food outside before coming to class", etc.

So I think this applies to the library so we should all word our rules the same way.

February 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandra

Good point, Alejandra.


February 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

School library is a unique think that helps the school students in a very positive way. In these type of fairs the books that are available is very helpful for the students and helps them to gather idea about one topic from many references. Also in these function students used to show many inventive ideas that known as the invention of science also helps the students to show their ideas to the society. In all these views I think school book fair is a necessary event for every school.

July 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmith

Always ask yourself "are the rules for the benefit of the staff or the students?"
And whatever you do "does it impact on student learning?"

August 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Cain

Thank you for this. I'm heading into a high school library this year that doesn't have the best reputation for being student friendly. I've been asked to change that. This helps give me some ideas, thank you!!

August 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKari

Hi Jennifer,

Great question - exactly what we should always ask. Thanks for commenting.


Hi Kari,

You are very welcome. Good luck in your new job!


August 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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