Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Maughan Library at King's College

     The last week of class we were given an opportunity to go on an optional tour of the Maughan Library. The Maughan Library is the library for the Strand Campus of King's College London. Even though it was optional, I felt like I needed to visit another academic library due to the small number we toured during the month. I am glad that I chose to get up and go with the group. 
     The outside of the library was gorgeous. The Victorian building the library is housed in used to be the public records building. The university acquired the Grade II listed property from the Crown Commissioners in 1998. The Public Records Office moved to Kew (another site we were able to visit on our trip).

     Our tour guide for the first half of the morning was Alan Fricker, the Library Liason Manager. We started the tour just past the entrance. The first area of the library has an inquiry desk (enquiry in Queen's English). This desk is what we would call the reference desk in an American library. The staff are ready to help students with research or library based questions. There is a section to the left entitled, "The Compass" that is staffed to answer general questions for students. I think this is a great idea for a college library that sees high traffic. Having a separate desk to ask general questions would allow the reference (or enquiry in this case) desk to aid more people.

The library uses radio-frequency identification technology for loans and returns.The kiosks are all self-service and are located in various areas of the library.

The college has the most high-tech sorter I have ever seen (not that I am a sort connoisseur or anything). The machine receives the books the students return and sorts them into 9 different bins. The books are then picked up by staff members and shelved four hours within four hours or less. The turn around time for items is better than I have ever heard of in a library of this size.
     I was really impressed with the way the college takes a pulse of the students and makes decisions based on the opinions of the students they serve. The library is now open longer hours due to student feedback. When an organization (the library) takes the time to ask you what could make them better and follows through, you feel that you matter...that is a great feeling.
     This is a picture of a laptop checkout that is accessible with a library card. How awesome is that? A station like this requires less personnel time and once again promotes student friendliness.
     Every area of the library has one of these signs. The signs tell you the guidelines for the type of area you are in at that moment. It tells you how much noise, if any, you can make, what kind of snacks you may have, and if collaboration is allowed. It is very straight forward. Students do not have to wonder about how to behave in the different rooms of this library. The students can also text issues to library services to let them know someone is not respecting the library.
     There are great ideas galore at this college library. If you would like to read more about the library or use the catalog, visit Maughan Library.

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