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Things They Don't Teach You in Library School 05

When sitting out at the reference desk, make sure you have a rolling chair. Why? Personal space. This isn't always an issue on-desk, oftentimes you can use your desk to keep some space between you and the patron. However! Because you are a good librarian, you invite them around the desk to show them what you're doing. When you are being a good librarian, sometimes a patron can get a bit too close for comfort. This is where the rolling chair comes into play.

There's a two-pronged approach here:

  1. The swivel. The swivel toward the patron allows you to get your knees in between you and them (with the added bonus that you are now facing them directly and giving them excellent patron service).
  2. The roll back. As you swivel toward them, gently roll your chair back to your preferred personal space comfort level.

Finally, if you need to hop back on the computer while you're talking with them, simply say, "excuse me," as you roll toward them just a bit further than you have to and hold there while you type from the slightly awkward angle. When they settle back in, slowly adjust your seating position away from them to create some extra personal space for yourself.

With a bit of practice, you can do this smoothly, and, perhaps more importantly, without letting the patron know what you are doing.