On February 22, 2017, when users will enter Webster Library, they will be greeted by librarians and staff in a place that will leave no doubt as to its purpose: simply put, whatever your question is, we will find the answer! The four “Questions? Ask Us!” pods are designed to answer questions and provide reference service to our users. They will be equipped with screens on articulated arms that can be easily rotated by Library personnel in order to facilitate communication with each user. The pod on the left will be wheelchair accessible. The Library is in the process of acquiring new 27-inch screens for each pod.

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Architect’s rendering of the future “Ask us” service desk.

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Photo of the future “Ask us” desk, with Guylaine Beaudry at right.

The innovative concept of “podsˮ was developed during the Space Planning phase of the Webster Transformation. Conceptually, these pods will be part of a new service model that will incorporate three services into one:

  1. Basic reference, general and directional information
  2. Reference questions and research assistance
  3. Technical questions relating to equipment and software

The concept has now become a reality! The newly built pods will be counter-high and equipped with computers and telephones.  They were created with universal design in mind and will allow for space for users to line up.

A separate closed-in area for an on-duty staff member to respond to reference and research questions is included in the design. It is important to note that the staff of the multipurpose pods will answer all general questions, but will refer more specific questions to each specialist, as needed.