Posts Tagged reference desk
The library of the future needs to be a collaborative place that extends – content + apps + hardware to support to all patrons. An example of a retail collaborative environment that provides potential options for a library building of the future is the Apple or Istore. It is an environment where Apple customers visit the store and experiment with products, learn about cloud services and get support answers.
ACA has been modeling self service functionality into the library environment with effective results for many years. It is an efficient way to provide express services using RFID or bar codes. However, the need to provide full service support is an advantage that the library building can provide to patrons that few other institutions can offer. It is a value that the library can provide to enable learning activities to thrive in the age of electronic books and journal collections.
The Apple-like Genius Bar concept may hold some answers for the future library environment. The access services and reference support space can be integrated with a Genius bar concept. The staff can use the library’s information point as a social collaboration point.
The concept will combine professional librarians, non-professional circulation staff and students in a social and active work zone, enabling peer / mentoring activities.
The Genius bar or “Collaborative Bar” can be a place for the community to be social in a productive and positive way. It can support social activities, group meetings and ad hoc training programs. The Collaborative Bar can enable the community to share resources in the electronic world. In an academic environment, it can be a place where students learn and share in their research community. It can be a place for information literacy training, library reference services, writing support, techie help and support.
Recently, Apple gave their Genius Bar technicians a raise. Although the pay is still low from a career perspective, we believe that Apple’s decision illustrates that the Genius Bar is a strategic part of their overall strategy to provide better customer experiences. It is an opportunity for customers to go to Apple and engage in technology help and training. The raise illustrates that the Collaboration Bar is a useful tool to share product and service information.
From a library planning perspective, the Genius Bar concept or Collaborative Bar enables new types of interactions. It embraces the idea of information sharing; a place where all can come to work, socialize and share information. From our perspective, the Genius Bar or Collaborative Bar is the next step in the transformation of the library environment. It will enable the library to share valuable expertise and tools for teaching, learning and sharing in the electronic world.
The library is an important social place. The experience of sharing and communicating in a learning space is vital to the development of effective schools, public libraries and academic institutions. In a recent analysis of the library service desk, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Library Planning Team presented a case study on the library reference desk. They explored the idea of no reference desk.
Since all libraries are different, it is important to develop a strategy as well as make some tactical service planning decisions. A change to the service environment should be taken with careful planning and understanding. The entire team should be included in the development of the concept, creating team-building activities to explore how the library would function without a service desk. Even if the library staff is not ready for this type of service environment, this is an opportunity to explore ways to efficiently and effectively improve library services.