library books

Photo credit: Library books by timetrax2 (via Creative Commons)

While browsing books in the library the other day, I noticed that each time I picked up a book, turned it over to read the description, and found that the description was covered by a library sticker, I gave up on that book and put it back on the shelf. I was sort of shocked with I noticed I was doing this (and had been doing this forever) – Was I just lazy? Was there a reason library staff did this? Was that reason good enough to impede access to the material? If I have this response to library stickers, I’m sure other people do as well.

About a week after having this revelation, I had another related experience that shocked me. I participate in an amazing online forum for librarians. I’m routinely inspired by the members there and the amazing work they do, programs they create, patrons they help, and their general love for the field. However, on this day there was a conversation where several people shared how much they enjoy putting stickers over book descriptions on the back of the book just to mess with people. After having my revelation about how these stickers impact my use of these books – and getting over my frustration – it really got me thinking about how small things in a library (or one staff member) can make a huge difference. A couple people chimed in to say that they did not like putting stickers over descriptions, but were required to because of library policies.

This week’s material made me remember this incident and it got me thinking about the future of libraries. What are the things that libraries do that make it hard for users to access materials? How does library staff culture impact patron and library usage? The Module 3 lecture did a great job of pointing out how a “library director” parking spot or an unwelcoming reference desk can negatively impact libraries. I loved the Aaron Schmidt article because it touched on one of my all-time favorite topics – innovation and being open to possibility. I think this is one of the key issues that determine success and failure – in every realm, not just libraries. I will definitely be coming back to this idea over the course of the semester.



Denning, S. (2015). Do we need libraries? Retrieved from

Schmidt, A. (2014). Exploring context. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. Module 3 lecture.

Stephens, M. (2016). Open to change. Retrieved from`

1 comment on “A Tiny Sticker Can Make a Huge Difference”

  1. Oh yes – I recall the sticker issues from my days at the public library. The excuse for covering important parts of the item was usually because a “set standard” was needed so the clerks would not have to deviate from where they put the sticker. It feels so not user-centered. I appreciate this small yet not so small user experience angle to bring us into the course foundations.

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