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As libraries have evolved from places that collect, store, and lend printed material to more interactive digital media centers, so too have the desks that users have traditionally used. While library desks just a few decades ago served the sole purpose of providing a place to read and research, today's library desks must also accommodate the information technology needs of the typical library user.

traditional reading desks
This photo depicts wooden reading desks in a traditional university library. Desk lamps provide adequate lighting for reading activities and studying tasks.

Flexibility is Key

Library desks can be designed to stand alone or to be placed in groups. Because today's library users are doing so much more than reading and studying printed materials, many libraries are incorporating moveable, flexible desks into their designs. Flexible desks that can be adjusted depending upon the use of the room for example, to serve the needs of solo users one day, to support a classroom the next day enable rooms to be used for more than one purpose and result in a better use of space.

Technology is a Consideration

When choosing library desks, it's important to take technology use into consideration. In addition to being large enough to accommodate an individual and his or her research materials, library desks must also be large enough to comfortably hold a desktop or laptop computer. In addition, today's library desks should have electrical outlets to power computers and tablets. While wireless access is becoming more common, some desks are equipped with Internet ports.

Circulation Desks

In addition to the desks designed for students, readers, and researchers, circulation desks are also important pieces of library furniture. The circulation desk typically sits at the front of the library, and serves as a workspace for library staff. Circulation desks must be large enough to hold all of the equipment necessary to check books in and out, and should also be able to accommodate materials needed for librarians and other library staff to conduct search and reference services.
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Library Desks - Reading Desks