Plans are in place for some reorganizing at the Puyallup Public Library, and the first phase began with the acquisition of a new front desk.
The $24,060 desk moved in on Nov. 30 to replace the previous front desk. Made up of two main parts, the desk now features combined library services. Circulation services are accessed at the front of the desk, while reference and information services will be available at the back part of the desk.
“I want to improve our customer service as best I can,” said library director Patty Ayala Ross. “This will allow us to staff better because we have back-up people.”
The desk potentially allows for up to four staff members working behind it, including room for book carts — which was not possible with the old desk, according to library technician Katy Levesque.
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I want to improve our customer service as best I can. This will allow us to staff better because we have back-up people.
Patty Ayala Ross, director at Puyallup Public Library
“It was cobbled together with a bunch of old desks,” said Levesque, who’s been working at the library for 11 years and has sat behind three different front desks. “I’m in love with (the new desk). If I wanna sit down I can sit down.”
The open ends and rounded corners of the desk also allow for easier accessibility for those with disabilities, such as patrons with wheelchairs.
The desk opens up space for both staff and patrons to move around — a goal that Ross says she wants to implement across the whole first floor, starting with the media shelves full of audiobooks, CDs and DVDs right behind the front desk.
“This was designed for theft,” Ross said about the original shelf organization. The thought process was, “if we put DVDs right by the desk, people won’t steal them.”
But it’s time for a change, Ross said. Most of the media material will be moved to the top floor, opening up the space for a larger children’s area.
“The reason we’re doing this is to increase access for children and families,” Ross said, adding that the library’s largest group of users are families.
Ross plans to bring in shorter “half-shelves,” making materials more accessible to children. What is now the kids area will become a “family learning section,” where families can go to play games and make crafts. Outside of that family room, the plan is for the children’s section to be blended for all ages. A more diverse world language section will be established on the bottom floor as well.
“There will be a few expenses but nothing major. We’ll use what we have,” Ross said about the future changes. “I think people will be really surprised at how open this will look.”
But it’s a slow process at this point, with changes being made step by step.
“Phasing it in is the best way to go,” Ross said.
“It’s still a work in progress,” added Levesque.
Ross hopes all changes will be completed by early spring. For now, Levesque says they’ve been hearing “positive comments” from the public about their new desk.