Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen



From Serviced to Self-serviced Library

This design challenge describes a number of measures that can contribute to easing the transition from serviced to self-serviced library.

There is today is today 300 self-serviced libraries all across Denmark (09.16). At the self-serviced library, citizens are typically able to borrow materials, use computers and wireless networks, read newspapers and magazines, play, meet and organise their own activities to the extent that the settings make this possible.

A completely key design challenge in connection with the transition from the serviced to the self-serviced library is to find local spaces and interior design solutions that make the interplay between the library's publicly accessible spaces and the staff's domain as smooth as possible. Ultimately, the idea is to create solutions that offer users of the self-serviced library as open an access to all relevant facilities at the library as possible.

In 2014-2015, Randers Library has worked on a project where the registration of users' presence triggers changes in the content of communication, in order to provide a fuller user experience. Read the thematic case here.

Examples of interior design

This section describes examples of solutions that can improve the transitions from serviced to self-serviced library and offer relevant functions in the self-serviced library:

Access to meeting rooms: If a self-serviced library is to support the function of a culture centre and gathering place, it is important to be able to offer suitable settings for planned meetings. For instance, a room with a conference table or a long table, PCs and a projector, and ideally, a smartboard, too. It should also be possible to ‘shut the door’ so as not to be disturbed or disturb other visitors at the self-serviced library.

Use of the staff's workstations: If the staff's workstations are already located in the library's user zone, lockable desk drawers and the use of different log-on codes for the PC can create the basis for the workstation to be made available to users of the self-serviced library. If the staff have a back office function that is already withdrawn from the users, a folding wall could be used discretely, but effectively to shut off this zone at the transition from serviced to self-serviced library.

Citizen Service: If the library has a Citizen Service function and this contains information and materials that should not be accessible to the library's users outside the serviced opening hours, the solution may be to use lockable folding walls. However, this may be difficult if, for instance, the Citizen Service is an integrated part of the library's arrival area. In this case, the solution may be lockable drawers in the Citizen Service's counters and desks, which have enough space for the staff's PCs, or that the Citizen Service staff work on special closed networks so that not only the Citizen Service's workstations, but also its PCs can be transferred to the users of the self-serviced library.

Café: In connection with the self-serviced library, cafe facilities, for instance, can be handed over to trusted users based on a principle of responsible self-management, user charges etc. A less ambitious model could be to close off the cafe, but offer access to a kitchenette for polite self-service or a coffee vending machine with user charges.

Self-serviced library and cultural events: If a self-serviced library is to be the backdrop for cultural evenings, performances or similar, it would be worth considering allowing ‘trusted users’ to handle the event. A few libraries, for instance Garaget in Malmö cultivate this strategy. However, this is not without challenges. One challenge is the relatively simple operation of stage and technology. Another is that the user-run cultural event may not go particularly well with another use of the self-serviced library. A third challenge is that visitors may turn up who are not registered and of whom event organisers have very little control. Finally, time and resources need to be allocated to clearing up. This means that a number of things speak in favour of limiting the open stage at the self-serviced library to relatively small events.

Make your own contribution via the Facebook group

If you have examples or ideas about how to create efficient transitions from serviced to self-serviced library, or if you have comments to the actual design challenge, please feel free to comment via the Facebook group.

24. Nov 2016 at. 11:21

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