Monday, August 13, 2007

Reference desks - part 3

The renovations in the central library in Orlando, headquarters of the Orange County Library System removed large service desks and replaced them with much smaller desks to encourage staff to walk around serving clients. The provides assistance to people who do not always approach reference desks because the desks can look forbidding and like they have been designed as barriers rather than for places for people to come who would like some help. If you have not refined the details of your question it is easier not to approach a desk, but instead to be approached by a library staff member seeking to provide assistance to you. This way you don't have to decide if you need help, but can just ask the librarian who is talking with you.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Reference desks - part 2

This reference desk is part of the new central library at Santa Monica, California.

It is designed so that clients have confidentiality when they are asking questions or seeking assistance. These desks (there are two of them) are also designed so it is easy for staff to walk away from them to help clients. They offer privacy to the clients as they can not be easily overheard by other staff on desk, or by other clients.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Reference desks - part 1

As part of the trend for reference and information staff to be more mobile within a library the service desks are becoming smaller.

This example from King County Library System in Washington State shows an ergonomic reference and information desk. It can be raised or lowered depending on the staff member on duty, or the clients needs for example it can be low enough for people to sit at. It is easy to approach and very easy for a staff member to be able to walk away from it to help someone. The desk does not present a barrier, but gives opportunities from staff to help the public.

King County has done a lot of work about changing service models – see Barbara Pitney and Nancy Slote’s article Going mobile: the KCLS roving reference model, Public Libraries. Chicago: Jan/Feb 2007. Vol. 46, Iss. 1; p. 54 (15 pages)