Guideline UL-ADG06 Stacks Signage (University Park)

Main Policy Content


  • Purpose
  • Introduction
  • Guidelines
    • Stacks Guides (Rangefinders)
    • Shelving End Panels
    • Shelving Layouts/Diagrams
    • Charts and Lists
    • Instructions
  • Responsibilities
    • Fabrication
    • Modification
  • Cross References


To provide a framework for understanding and applying the Libraries’ Signage Policy with regard to the nature and disposition of signage in collection stack areas.

The intention of these guidelines is not to inhibit creativity, but to ensure that consistencies in form and function are easily recognizable throughout the Libraries’ system at University Park by establishing uniform standards of style and design.

Requests for specialized signage, and/or design formats that do not comply with the recommended guidelines, should be submitted in accordance with procedures defined in the Signage Policy.


Stacks signage can be regarded as a special class of signs needed for wayfinding in the book stacks, falling outside the Libraries’ Interior Wayfinding Signage System and OPP standards, but necessary for the effective use and operation of the Libraries.

By maintaining consistency in the format and design of signage throughout all University Park library locations, we provide continuity for the users, and assist in establishing a visual identity.

NOTE: Information and resources regarding standardized sign holders, templates, and other policy issues referred to in these guidelines, may be found in the Cross References section at the end of this document.

Stacks Guides: (Rangefinders)

Stack guides define the specific sequence of a classification system within any given space of shelving. Guides at the ends of each row of shelving (range) define the classifications within that row. Guides at each cross aisle define the sequence from the aisle to the end of the row, in each corresponding direction.

  1. Size/Dimension – standard dimensions, consistent with design of brackets. May vary depending upon the make and model of brackets being used. Most commercial rangefinder brackets accommodate a standard 3” x 5” index card format. The design of these brackets may vary in length or width, and in the margin of overlap, so the exact dimensions of the cards may be adjusted accordingly, to make a better “fit.”
  2. Format/Style – General collection guides consist of two lines, the starting and ending classification numbers in the sequence. Specialized, discrete, and controlled collections may include a header above these two lines, identifying the Subject Library and/or collection (e.g., Business Reference, Legal Alcove, Education Instructional Materials, US Documents, Oversize, etc.).
  3. Color – White cardstock for general collections. Light colored cardstock for specialized collections, consistent where collections correspond with those at other locations (e.g., Reference, Abstracts and Indexes, Theses and Dissertations, Unbound Journals, etc.).
  4. Font Style – Should be easily readable from a moderate distance (10–20 feet). Typeface must clearly distinguish between letters and numerals (such as between a lower case “l” and the number “1”, a capital “O” and a numeral “0”, etc.).
    Bold, 36 point, Times New Roman font for text in the classification lines
    Bold, 24 point, Times New Roman font with a one-point line border for text in a descriptive header
    Unbound Journal collections may require some modification, but should be visually consistent with standard rangefinder formats.
  5. Font Color – Black
    Using light shades of colored cardstock assists users in visually identifying distinctions between collections (e.g., independent classification sequences). Consistency in the use of colors throughout the University Park Libraries, where there is correspondence between floors and/or locations, is recommended.
    The Collection Maintenance Unit has developed standardized templates to print rangefinders on 8.5 x 11” cardstock (65# multipurpose cover paper) with a laser printer. The text color is limited to Black, by this method, which is preferable for its visibility.

Shelving End Panels:

The installation of signage and/or decoration (such as book jackets) on shelving end panels should not interfere with or reduce the visibility of maps, identifiers, and other standardized wayfinding information.

  1. Collection Identifiers — specialized, discrete collections should be identified with a standardized design format, and mounted in appropriate locations in accordance with the Signage Policy. Signs identifying the subject matter or some other descriptive subset of the general collection should be consistent in design and orientation.
    Shelf edge labels, such as those used to identify periodical display materials by title, should also be uniform in design and format.
  2. Wayfinding — directional signage relating to the location, distribution, or orientation of collections should be used only where the Libraries’ Interior Wayfinding Signage System is insufficient to meet a particular need. Specific needs should be clearly defined, and the language and content easily understood (e.g., no room numbers or names, without ready access to an existing map, floor plan, or name plate, such as a standardized sign).
    Large alphabetic signs, to indicate the distribution of collections by broad classification, shall be consistent in design and construction throughout the Libraries at University Park. They should also be easily moved, to maintain correspondence with collections when they are periodically redistributed. Some form of bracketed or magnetic frame, that may be affixed or clamped to the end panels such that it is visible in the cross aisles, is recommended. (Suggested Vendor: Plastic Products Mfg.)
  3. Temporary — may include signs indicating short-term work projects, such as collection shifts, temporary holding areas, and other such explanations as a courtesy to library patrons. A magnetic sign holder in a standard 8.5” x 11” format is recommended. All temporary signs should be immediately removed when they no longer serve their purpose, in accordance with the Signage Policy.

Shelving Layouts/Diagrams:

Shelving layouts/diagrams may include color-coded diagrams and other assistive information that supplements the Libraries’ Interior Wayfinding Signage System, and should not merely duplicate that information. Requests for additional wayfinding signage in the Interior Wayfinding Signage System format shall be directed to the Libraries’ Facilities Office.

  1. Placement – should be consistent relative to the purpose (e.g., shelving layouts should be uniform in design and placement).

Charts and Lists:

Poster-size charts and other informative listings such as journal lists, indexes, classification outlines, etc., may serve informative and/or decorative purposes. Format and placement should be in accordance with the Signage Policy. Should not visibly detract from the aesthetic color and design scheme of the floor or facility, nor impede the visibility of standard wayfinding signage.

  1. Appropriateness — should serve a supplementary purpose to the Libraries’ Catalog, and to Public Services’ reference desks and resources.


Signage directing patrons in the appropriate handling of materials will be standardized and duplicated across all locations.

  1. “Please do not reshelve books” — standardized free-standing acrylic holders (see Signage Policy). Shelf edge labels will be installed in Pattee Library and Paterno Library in accordance with a proposal submitted by Access Services.
  2. Where to place materials for reshelving — standardized free-standing or magnetic acrylic holders, or strategically placed wall-mounted sign holders, in accordance with the Signage Policy.
  3. Explanatory information (Call numbers) — information that explains the structural sequence of various classification systems, LC subject headings, etc., should be provided in the form of handouts and/or Web-based resources.



The responsibility for fabrication and installation of stacks signage may vary, depending upon the nature and function of each type of sign. Considerations associated with the location of individual libraries, such as administrative relationships, building design, etc., may also have an influence on particular needs.

As a general guideline, the responsibility for identifying specific needs and maintaining signage relating to individual collections rests with the units or departments bearing primary responsibility for the disposition and maintenance of those collections.

  1. Rangefinders — maintained by persons or units responsible for the associated collections.
  2. Collection Identifiers, Diagrams, and Charts — discretionary, in accordance with needs identified by departmental faculty and staff.


In accordance with the Signage Policy, each department or unit is responsible for maintaining informational signs pertaining to associated services or functions, and for those that are temporary or site-specific (such as inserts for free-standing sign holders). Pre-designed templates of signs for specific purposes should be used whenever possible.


Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

UL-AD05 - Signage (University Park)
Form: Signage Request Form (see staff site for the replacement form: Public Relations and Marketing Request)
Signage Template Library (discontinued)

Effective Date: November 14, 2005
Date Approved: November 14, 2005 (Dean's Library Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • November 14, 2005 -- New guideline

Last Review Date: January 2010