Once upon a time, Otter and I were talking about how each public desk in the library has its own characteristics. I'm not sure which of us got the idea to compare them to major cities in the US but it's a fun way to identify the unique challenges of each location.
I'll start with the information desk. I like to think of this desk as New Orleans. It's the big easy- until disaster hits and then it's usually of hurricane proportions. Most of the time it's friendly and you simply direct people where they want to go. No mardi gras alas, but then no actual hurricanes either. The Media desk is edgier. Computers make people dark and focused inward- it makes me think of New York- cutting edge, fashionably black and self-centered. A very big city feel but no apples. Wander down the orange brick wall to the Children's desk and you feel you've travelled to a completely different place. I think of this desk as St. Louis (as in the musical with Judy Garland), it's Midwest hospitality that's almost too good to be true. But still a big city: theater, culture, noise, bustle and the occasional riff-raff. I love the energy of the Children's desk but it's not for the faint of heart.
The Reference desk can be physically cold, the air from the cooling system used to blow right at the desk making me think of Chicago, the windy city. Patricia used to wear stylish leather jackets to keep warm. The car manuals are next door, patrons worry about taxes and silently hover over their computers unless they bunch up and become loud and disruptive. This is the desk of politics and government, valueline and geneology. It's a serious place except for the silent snickers from teens prowling in the 741's.
The Periodicals desk is at the top of the building. It's hip like Seattle, everyone wants to go there. Glossy magazines, newspapers and latte's. People keep to themselves, rarely asking for help but when it rains, it literally pours. The views are amazing up there which is probably why, one time, some homeless guys thought this was a great place to have a pizza party with beer. Enjoy, but make sure that walkie talkie is working.
Keeping in mind the different characteristics of each public desk helps me to navigate my way, especially on a Sunday, when I'm usually at each of them at one time or another.