When we walked into the LSE Library we were impressed by the modern design and floor plans: the building has a high ceiling with windows all around to let natural light in, a huge staircase and glass lifts in the centre, and open-plan shelving with study areas on each of the four floors.
LSE Library has some impressive strategies and ideas, which might be good example for other libraries if practicable. For example: the arrangement of the floors so that books and periodicals of the same subject are housed together. This enables readers to browse the shelves and to cross-reference materials easily. Also, the information desk and IT help desk next are housed next to each other. The staff can work together and help with some basic enquiries if the other desk is busy or vacant. The library staff receives special training to work on the information desk and all of them have to do shifts there, no matter what their role is.
We also got a unique insight into the marketing aspects of librarianship – I felt this was really useful for us to talk about, as there aren’t many libraries that have their own marketing department! The library produces merchandise for their students such as bags and water bottles which have become cult items at LSE. The posters and small leaflets not only provide enough information for new students but also advertise the role of the library. At the beginning of each semester, the library can successfully deliver most important information through these leaflets and booklets, but it also provides training sessions to its users.
The talk with we had with Ruth Murphy, Samantha Halford and Maria Bell regarding their experiences at library school and work and their tips for CV building was particularly informative and enjoyable.