I (Arlene) inherited this from my mother. Periodically, I just need to rearrange furniture. And I’ve been thinking about the reading room for a long time. Long narrow tables, lined up in rows, backs to the window, facing the reference archivist. Was this really the most congenial/inviting format? Did the line-up really give the reference archivist the best view of what was going on with researchers?
So Friday, late in the day, I mentioned this to MC. Who immediately said “We can rearrange the tables?” Apparently she’d been thinking along the same lines, but for whatever reason assumed that the existing line-up was immutable. I told her that I thought it probably fell within my authority to make some changes like this. (Haven’t heard otherwise yet.)
So there we are. The floor ports are still reachable from the sides of the tables, researchers don’t feel quite as much under the eye of the reference desk (which is slightly to the left of where the photo was taken) and a whole bunch of other improvements. Now researchers can see out those gorgeous windows to the trees and mountains outside if they just need to stare off into the distance for a while (before they’d just stare at the reference archivist which was a little unnerving at times). Since the tables are abutted along the long sides, if a researcher needs to spread something out that is oversize, we can just move the lamps and there’s enough space. And the reference archivist can still see what’s going on, and somewhat more easily than before. Plus it makes the reading room look huge! We probably have enough room for another full set of tables, should the researcher numbers ever increase to that point. Mind you, I’ll never be able to find enough matching lamps again (getting these was an unbelievably difficult procedure that I never want to relive) so if we do add tables, we’re going to have to figure out something else for the task lighting.
Oh, and all those boxes on the middle set of tables? Those are from a student who is organizing some materials for us. She’s definitely liking the new layout too. The total square footage of the tables didn’t change, but for some reason, they just seem bigger now.
And after all, if we find out we don’t like it, we can always move them back.