Gathering Information

Before even coming up with a list of words for the cart sort a list of items that should appear on the website was created. Here is the list of items that, I came up with:

  • Hours for the Libraries
  • Contact Information for both Crane and Crumb Library – address, phone, email
  • Contact Form
  • Libraries Catalog Access
  • Electronic Database Access
  • Inter Library Loan Access
  • List of Equipment that can be borrowed – computers, digital cameras etc.
  • Circulation Policy – for all items that can be borrowed from the libraries.

Crumb Circulation Desk.

This list of items came from working at the reference desk in the Crumb Library and talking to the circulation staff at both the Crane and Crumb Libraries. Talking to the circulation staff proved to be very important because they are the busiest service point in the library. Along with talking to staff, I spend a few days at the circulation desk in both libraries to observe and take notes about the types of questions people ask. It was like conducting data for a research project by observing human behavior.

In reading through the list that appears above you additional ideas to add or even take away items depending on your perspective. In looking back it would have been useful to talk with people who represent the target audience to find out what they need to have access too. This is something that you want to be careful with because a person may ask for things that in reality may not really help them with the task they are trying to accomplish. This reminds me of the Simpsons episode Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? where Homer gets the chance to design a car. During the episode he adds things to the car such as a large cup holder that gets in the way of the controls. The engineers are able to design the car and a prototype is built, but the cost bankrupts the company.

Circulation Desk

Desk at the Crane Library.

At the same time, I was contemplating what items should appear you may have additional ideas to add or may see a few things that you would take away. Every library would probably have at least a few of things on their list; However, each one is a little different serving a different community of patrons. What would your list contain? This was one of the most useful aspects in gathering information because the circulation desk is where we have the most interaction with the people who use the libraries.

The Crane Library circulation and reference desk are located next to each other at the same desk. After walking into the entrance of the library you see a large desk right in front of you. The first part of the desk that you see is staffed by someone who is responsible for circulation duties. The reference area of the desk is located at the far right of the desk. Essentially the desk in the Crane Library serves two service points one for circulation and another one for reference.

The view of the reference desk after you have just walked into the library and turned to your left or right.

On the other hand, the Crumb library has two different desks that are approximately 50 meters apart from each other. After entering the library the circulation desk is the first point of contact for people, so most questions often start here and than move to the reference desk. The reference desk is not in a persons field of vision because of its location unless a person turns to their immediate left or right after entering the building.

Most Common Questions

  • May I have a laptop?
  • Can I check this out?
  • My professor put something on reserve – do you know where it is?
  • The computer I’m using says it can’t find the printers. Why?
  • The computer I’m using locked up. Why?
  • Can I borrow a pair of headphones?
  • Where can I find this book?/Ho do I find this book?
  • What time do you open?/What time do you close?
  • Dow you have a fax machine?
  • Where are your copiers?
  • Do you have a scanner?
  • Are there any more computers?
  • Can I sigh out a group study room?

Less Common Question

  • Can you help me cite this?
  • I’m looking for an article can you help me?

The questions that appear above are asked at both libraries; However, the Crumb Library receives a higher number of questions because it is the largest and busiest library on campus.