3 reasons why Info / Ref Desk stats are important


  1. Tells you whether your Information/Reference Services desk are utilized or NOT.  Well , if no one comes to the InfoDesk to ask questions it could mean a few things: either it is positioned in a non-strategic place in the library or it’s redundant as your users could be asking questions via email/live chat/social media.   Perhaps its time to start the roving library staff services.
  2. Informs you what kind of question(s) your users are asking.  If you are getting a lot of directional questions, perhaps its time to start a user experience study on the library signages.  Check out this interesting article:  Signage by Design: A Design-Thinking Approach to Library User Experience
  3. Indicator showing the peak period when users ‘visit’ the Info/Ref Desk to ask questions.  For example, our library uses Ref Analytics (part of LibAnswers product by Springshare) to record all the questions we get at the InfoDesk.  From the RefAnalytics stats feature, we can tabulate data according to the peak periods by month, day, and time.  This information helps our Reference Coordinator to plan the InfoDesk schedules accordingly.

Out of curiosity, have any libraries do away with their Info/Ref Desks and replaced them with other innovative methods?

the Reference aka Information Desk

The Reference / Info Desk is a focal point in any academic / public / special libraries.  It’s one of the places where you see long queues of students / faculty / visitors waiting for their turn to inquire on library collections / services / and so forth. (Though in this technology-driven era, you don’t get to see these quite often).

I’m not going to discuss in depth about what are the things that user(s) often ask at the desk.  It’s the design of the Reference Desk that intrigues me.  Out of curiosity, I ‘flickred’ and got some photos:

PA300414     Reference desk on the upper floors

New Shapiro reference desk     General Reference desk

For those of you that have an account with Pinterest, check out this board: Information Desks.


Information Desk, Tokyo

Everyone has their own taste, their own preference of a Reference / Information Desk. Here’s mine:

  • Located near the entrance of the library; that’s where most traffic occurs
  • Visually appealing to the eyes (subjective; beauty in the eyes of the beholder)
  • Desk height: Not too high
  • Catchy signage – perhaps with a tagline as well
  • Electronic Tickler
  • Two-way screens so that the user is able to follow the staff explanation
  • Seats for our users
  • A detachable side table that is also adjustable

On top of that, I believe that it’s time to change the one in mine.