Sunday, March 17, 2013

Circ Desk Repurposing

I read this article and have been thinking its relevance in relation to a school library. “Good-bye, Hotel Front Desk”

What are the pros and cons of eliminating the large circulation desk in a school library? Would the library have more functionality if precious floor space were not commandeered by such a behemoth piece of furniture? While I’m not suggesting that librarians walk around the library doing circulation from an iPad, I’m suggesting that it’s time to start evaluating the subliminal message a huge circulation desk can send. Are librarians in the circulation business or the information business? Are librarians in the inventory management business or the information exploration business?

Maybe circulation should happen at a kiosk or small desk at the entrance of the library, and the circulation desk be turned into something like the Genius Bar found in Apple stores. My local ATT store is set up the same way too.

If I were in charge of the world and not flush with a big budget, I would put a new top on the existing circulation desk so that there is an extension toward the front edge and put counter-height stools in front. I would arrange several laptops on top with a sign that says “Info Center,” or “Genius Bar,” or “Collaboration Station,” etc. on the wall behind.

I know this idea may not be workable in every library. And I know that if you are new to the library world, you may not be comfortable with repurposing a bastion of traditional library service. But it’s something to think about.

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