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Using observations to plan a desk redesign
Dive into Data 2 (2017)
  • Andrea Boehme, Bowling Green State University
  • Juli McCarroll, Bowling Green State University
This document details the findings of 22, hour-long observations undertaken to collect data and form the request for a new circulation desk.  The study uncovered the following themes:
·         Lack of patron engagement - as circulation staff sit away from the counter, patrons often are confused about who to go to and tend to queue at one station even if other staff are free. Engagement was also hampered by the height of the counter and position of a pillar relative to the staff desks.
·         Compartmentalization – frequently, patrons were bounced from one station to the next to complete a task.  This was usually related to returning items and technology storage locations.  Additionally, staff had long walks to highly used items.
·         Activity – the most frequent activity at the desk was for reserves and technology checkouts.  The flow of patrons was not even.  Intense activity was followed by nothing.  No pattern was found that would suggest a “normal” activity level. 
·         Technology – many different types of technology are circulated at the desk and this often leads to long trips, bending/stooping, and rummaging.  These items are also in high demand, particularly laptops.
Given these themes, we recommended a new desk configuration.  An alternate, primarily cosmetic, plan is also included. 
  • Desk design,
  • Library,
  • Circulation,
  • Access Services
Publication Date
Summer July 20, 2017
Columbus, Ohio
Citation Information
Andrea Boehme and Juli McCarroll. "Using observations to plan a desk redesign" Dive into Data 2 (2017)
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Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY-NC-ND International License.