Before Maughan Library housed an academic collection and research services for the students of King’s College it was the site of the National Archives. One room is still left in pristine condition for historical reference with the original shelving for the archives. Disability legislature required that these shelves be removed as they were not handicap accessible. This is a common theme with many locations and public service points in London as access is difficult for those with mobility issues.
Several of the library locations we visited had an automatic return system. Most of the library systems I’ve worked in were unable to have an automatic check out system claiming either cost or the fear of machines replacing the need for staff. However, with cutbacks in staffing this is an ideal solution for making sure that patrons needs are met in a timely fashion. Items can come and go as needed and librarians/staff can focus on reference and technology services.
I wonder if there is any issue of theft with automatic returns. I know that the system should track most of this circulation information but I could see this being a concern.
The main reference desk is aptly named “Library Enquires” which I like much more than other variations seen in academic libraries. In fact one library in which I worked had quite the heated discussion concerning a name change as “reference desk” appears to be outdated. The goal was to pick a name that would be clear to all students of all demographics. These concepts are definitely something academic librarians have to deal with and they can be complicated by differences in generations.
The Maughan Library has a fantastic system for study rooms: Group, Training, and Silent study rooms. The Training Rooms are equipment with technology where students are able to host classes or use the computers for work. The Group rooms are collaborative spaces where noise is acceptable. Conversely, the silent study room is a space without any noise. In fact there is even a system for students to be able to report noise complaints anonymously. This provides students with the ability to find the ideal study space that fits their needs.
Above you see the group listening to the special collection librarians introducing us to treasures.