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CNIE - Beyond the Library's Walls: Relocation of Reference Desk

House of Learning Library - Reference Services

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.

Multiple ongoing problems have resulted from this disjoint – problems which diminish the Library’s ability to serve its clientele effectively:

  • Student, staff, and faculty confusion about where to receive research assistance – in the Library or in, what our users perceive as, a ‘computer lab’ on the first floor of the House of Learning.
  • Reference services staff being called upon to primarily provide IT support during the evenings, weekends, intersession and summer.
  • Students, staff and faculty receive inefficient and ineffective research assistance as Reference Services staff try to provide research assistance 2 floors removed from the Library’s collections.
  • Circulation services staff receive negative comments and frustration from our users seeking research assistance.

Students often approach the staff working at the Checkout Desk, located on the 3rd floor near the collection, with questions about how to locate, use and evaluate library resources. Because the circulation clerks who work on the 3rd floor of the Library are not qualified to answer these questions, they must either direct students downstairs to the 1st floor reference desk, or ask (by phone) a reference staff person to come upstairs to help the student. Reference staff were asked to leave the 1st floor and come up 2 floors to assist students in the 3rd floor House of Learning Library space over 3,000 times during 2012-2013.

New location for the refernece desk on the 3rd floor of the House of Learning: