In the summer of 2011, TRU opened a new building - the Brown Family House of Learning. The new building is a multifunctional space which now houses not just a branch library, but also:
- 1st floor: Aboriginal Education Centre, Tim Horton's Coffee, and an Information Commons (the Library Reference Desk and Information Technology Services)
- 2nd floor: Centre for Student Engagement and Learning Innovation and the Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism.
- 3rd floor: Library
- 4th floor: Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Department of Computing Science.
Reference staff were getting reference questions on the 1st floor in our "information commons", but those questions were overshadowed by the surge in IT related questions when the IT desk was unstaffed. Further, library clerks on the 3rd floor were asking reference staff to come up 2 floors to help students who needed assistance searching and working in the collection.
Staff grew increasingly dissatisfied with how we were delivering reference services. Reluctant to abandon our "information commons" so soon after moving into the building, in Spring of 2012 we decided on doing a pilot to see if "roving reference" might be the solution to assisting students more effectively.
Reference staff were instructed to “rove” within the House of Learning using laptops or ipads. The staff could move around the different floors of the House of Learning, station themselves among the students in the student study areas, sit with circulation staff on the third floor, or some combination of thereof. Reference staff were encourage to explore the space and service and find a means that worked best.
The library decided to drop this intiative because:
Postscript: The reference desk was moved from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor in January 2014.