This week’s tour was to Industry Canada‘s Library and Knowledge Centre. The library at Industry Canada focuses on meeting the needs of their users through partnerships, providing easy access to content, and providing a space for collaboration and sharing of information.
Much like any library, they provide:
- reference services through e-mail, telephone, and in-person at the desk
- in-depth reference services provided by portfolio (subject) librarians
- online resources, such as subject and research guides
- current awareness, such as weekly Radar (news), news in departmental newsletter, blog (events, resources, news)
- access to print (via catalogue) books and serials (in-house and interlibrary loans), subscription databases, etc.
- training and learning (which helps employees fulfill their personal learning plans), such as orientations for the library and research, viewing and participation of external webinars
Much of the development of their services is based on feedback and the needs of their users, focusing on the subjects you would expect at Industry Canada (business, economics, statistics, management, etc.) and information that is very current. For example, one area they focus on for new articles and resources are what they refer to as ThinkTanks, information coming out of organizations such as universities and research councils, since this is an area that people are generally unfamiliar with and perhaps where alert tools are not as readily available.
The library has also just moved to a new physical space (last May). Library staff worked with a designer to improve on the old space based on staff comments and feedback. The focus with the new design was on creating an information commons, and more areas for people to use the space rather than having it taken up by shelving. As a result, the library has a mix of compact and regular shelving, but much less of it. An estimated 29% of the print material was weeded.
When you enter, you are immediately greeted with promotional materials on the side and the front desk always staffed by a librarian. It is amusingly dubbed the “hotel desk” as it was purposely designed with a different set of lights and lettered wallpaper to make it feel more approachable and welcoming.
The new space also has an additional training area so that more than one training session can be done at once, and a few study carrels were added based on user feedback. A nice reading area includes cushy chairs, magazines, journals, new books, and a couple of TVs on news channels.
Personally, the best part of the tour really was seeing the difference between the old space (which we got to see pictures of in a video) and the new one, and hearing about the considerations that were put into why and how design considerations were made.