Tricia Murray

Devilishly clever idea to co-locate our two service desks: Swanston Library, RMIT University.


This paper will explain how RMIT Swanston Library changed from having a separate Loans and Reference Desk to a combined service desk. Our trial began during semester break in 2013/14. We are trialling this idea, in preparation for a move into a new library where in 2017, it is envisioned that we may have information pods. This enabled both groups to learn new skills, in both loans transactions and basic reference skills. The groups have found they have learned by observing their more experienced colleagues, where practicable. Naturally we kept our patrons informed that the trial was in progress and we were optimistic our patrons did not mind if the tasks took a little longer.

How is it going so far? Staff agreed it is a great way of gaining new skills, improving the ones they already have, and it also gives us a chance to interact more closely with our colleagues.
Swanston Library is also making what we believe to be an improvement to our high use collection (reserve) by moving to a more open model. We hope this means our patrons can and browse this collection prior to borrowing the item they wish to consult, using self-check machines, with staff members close by to assist as needed.

We are looking forward to seeing how this new idea works at the start of the new academic year. While there will be challenges as we embark on this new desk arrangement, it is exciting working in this industry, and striving to deal with constant change professionally. It is acknowledged that many libraries have already changed to the idea of having a single desk for all enquiries.


Tricia works in the Swanston Reference Group, Swanston Library, RMIT University, her duties include reference desk and ask a librarian chat shifts. She also assists with giving Information Literacy classes, including Endnote Classes. Tricia has worked for RMIT for 30 years, in a variety of positions and areas of the library. She is currently Co-secretary for the ALIA Victorian Library Technician’s Group.



(*no powerpoint was used during presentation)

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