How good is the reception?

April 7, 2010 - Graham

photo of interior of Newcastle library

The affable David Fay, City Libraries Manager for Newcastle, showed me around the new and highly impressive Newcastle City Library the other day. I was most impressed by the way the very modern, transparent building fitted in and enhanced the traditional architecture of the city centre.

But one omission intrigued me. There are no reception or book issue desks behind which librarians can hide and keep themselves insulated from their customers. Instead there are small triangular pods beside which the staff stand or sit on stools ready and willing to talk to visitors and offer advice and asistance, and show them how to find the information they need on screen.

It made me wonder why we have reception desks these days in museums, offices and even hotels?


  1. Amanda Shepherd

    April 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Interesting question! I noticed recently that refurbed Premier Inns have self-check-in facilities, with receptionists hovering to help. The reception desk at Earls Court Prem has been shrunk to a small table. But three staff were still trying to squeeze behind it!

  2. Anonymous

    April 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    BDP’s new office in Manchester has no reception desk – just a pod, a really warm welcome from the person standing behind it and a massive lounge area with cafe and brightly coloured sofas. This together with floor length windows overlooking the canal at Piccadilly Basin makes for a really creative, open work environment. No desk definitely carries a message.

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