Rethinking the staff workplace

Ensuring that libraries are also great places for staff to work in begins with understanding how libraries are changing to address new user needs.

8 June 2015

Elliot Felix writes in the latest issue of Library Journal on the implications of changes in the design and use of library spaces for staff work styles.

'These changes inevitably prompt the rethinking of library spaces as well as the services offered in them, often exemplified in new approaches to physical service desks. Staff now rove throughout spaces, and the large barrier desks between users and staff have been shrunk and repurposed into centralized one-stop shops...

'With all this change occurring and libraries’ admirable ethos of putting users first, staff can often be forgotten. This is a mistake. The most effective organizations are the ones that treat staff and customers equally well because they know that only engaged staff can create satisfied customers.'

The article focuses on the planning principles and tools for space design, the involvement of staff as well as users, and the training needs of staff for new roles in new spaces, with several examples from libraries across the US. 

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