RDC Library’s “Single Point of Service” Desk

Grand opening celebrations for RDC Library’s “Single Service” desk included a short program followed by a LOT of cake!
Grand opening celebrations for RDC Library’s “Single Service” desk included a short program followed by a LOT of cake!

RDC Library has always operated the traditional library service points of a Circulation Desk and a Reference Desk. In 2010, Red Deer College made some operational changes, and two additional service areas were integrated into the Library; the Library Information Common now included the Library, Disability Resources, and Academic Support. To provide a visible and accessible service point for students to access the services provided by Disability Resources and Academic Support, a third service desk was opened in 2011. It soon became abundantly clear that a single service point – a “one-stop shop” – would be the ideal way to best meet the needs of students, rather than referring them from desk to desk to desk to get the services they needed.

Planning for the required renovations got seriously underway in spring 2014, inspired by research, discussion, student input, and with RDC’s “learner-centred” culture clearly in mind. Staff workshops solidified our ideas, and an architectural firm was hired to formalize the design and make it a reality. Renovations happened throughout the summer of 2014 and our new service area was officially open for business in early September.

The new service area consists of three “round tables” around which students and staff can work together. The desks were purposefully designed for collaboration – there is no “staff side” and no “customer side” – the staff position themselves where they like, and the customer can approach from any direction and work beside or across from the staff member – whatever feels most comfortable. All three tables have identical equipment and technology, so a student can be served at any one of the tables, no matter their need. Two tables are at counter height with stools, and one is lower to accommodate wheelchair access.

Two additional desks just behind the round tables are “touch-down” spots where staff can work on projects but still be available to provide back-up when needed. These desks also provide spaces where staff can work with students who require longer consultations. The cash register, phone, and debit/credit machine are centrally located so they are easily accessible by all staff.

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