People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Unfavorable First Impression

library buildingAfter many months in the city of Stamford, CT, I finally mustered up the energy to get my library card at the Ferguson Library. Upon arriving at 10:30 am on a Thursday in November, I found that the library was still closed. I decided to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee at the Starbucks connected to the library.

When I finally entered the library from Starbucks, I was immediately in the Friend’s group section of the library. Once I passed through this section into the main foyer, I was confronted my a staff member telling me I could not have coffee in the building. I can part with my coffee but did not like the lack of signage notifying me of this rule. When I asked the staff member where I can dispose of the cup I was ignored. I went to the desk by the front door and was told I had to exit the building to the trash can on the street corner.

library brochureOnce over this first hurdle, I went to the circulation desk to get my library card. Again, no signage telling me where to go; in fact from the main foyer you cannot even see the service desks. I did have a nice interaction at the circulation desk getting my library card. I received a brochure and a handy guide for setting up my online account and pin number.

Second hurdle done. Now it was time to look for my books. After an initial walk through the library it seemed that the sections are not clearly marked and required having the library brochure in hand marking the section locations. Admittedly, I took the lazy way out and asked the librarian where to go.

self check out machineOnce I was in the correct section, I used one of the readily available catalog computers. After finding my material, I used the self check out machines since there was no line.

There are several redeeming impressions from my first visit:

  • Ferguson has lots of quality educational, entrepreneurial, cultural and literary programs for all ages.
  • Ferguson was also one of the first public libraries to have a passport center.
  • Ferguson has an admirable list of services for non native English speakers and new Americans including it’s Language Lab.
  • Ferguson has an impressive list of financial and business resources.

Hopefully, Ferguson’s offerings can wipe out the negative impressions from my first visit and make me a library regular. We’ll see when I go back to return my materials.


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