Patrons behind your reference desk? Try this.

Is your reference desk set up in such a way that patrons have free access behind it? Ours does, and it's a constant, if minor, problem keeping folks from walking through behind us. On the PUBLIB-L discussion list, Joe Schallan has a novel solution.

We set up a Task Force to come up with a solution, and that group quickly determined that we could try a passive solution (barriers and other fortifications) or an active one.

Three active ones immediately identified were poison gas, small arms fire, and mines.

As it turns out, all three have serious drawbacks.

Who would have thought?

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Whose books are they?

I do have coworkers that get miffed when clientele help themselves to refdesk titles, but these are also the same old-school mindsets that are personally offended at people who use our computers for more than a few hours a day (when there's space for everyone mind you). I'd rather see more roving reference than the closed stacks attitude.On a related note Muse subscribers can read Size Matters: The Debate Over Reference Desk Height (portal: Libraries and the Academy 3.1 (2003) 79-87) -- although it leaves out my preference for the 11-foot high service counter like in old pharmacies.

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