Inviting people in: Participatory displays in the library

Kristen Cardoso, Amy Russo

Abstract

Located on a small campus serving approximately 750 graduate students pursuing professional master’s degrees, our centrally situated library at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, remains open longer than any other department. At least one staff member and one student assistant is always available for service. When students enter the library, our front desk, and the people who work there, are the first sights they see. With a central service desk, students can quickly learn where to go when they have questions just by walking in and out of the library. Nonetheless, it can be easy for students to walk past the desk without interacting with us. Approaching our large, L-shaped front desk can be intimidating, especially for the many students who may not be aware that the librarians want to help, and that it is appropriate to speak with us, as well as the student assistants. To help spark conversations and foster relationships between library users and the staff, we have taken advantage of our entryway lobby to create a welcoming environment and invite participation.

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Copyright Kristen Cardoso, Amy Russo

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