If you have walked into the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) building recently you may have noticed that some changes are afoot. An inviting corner for Library users and visitors has been created in a re-purposed portion of the first floor employee break room/cafeteria, just inside the north door/accessible entrance. A comfortable sofa, book shelves that beckon to be explored, and some unique children’s activities are available to enjoy. Two helpful staff from the library are stationed nearby at the newly created information desk area, ready to greet visitors and assist Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped patrons with information and circulation needs. Library patrons are now able to refill cartridges, drop off books, and use other library services more quickly. A convenient accessible iPad mounted on a stand replaces the loose leaf binder sign-in book. The west side of the cafeteria has been rearranged in proximity to the vending machines with enough space for the usual number of people using it during breaks and lunch. It’s all part of a “one point of service” concept and design that Library and other IDB staff are presenting on a trial basis.
Born of a desire to bring the Library front desk closer to patrons, the need for more efficient use of staff, and improve building security, this new public interface is being tried out in a no-cost pilot effort.
A significant change to entering the IDB building began its trial on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 when the 4th Street doors will no longer be used as a visitor entrance and will remain locked during the day. Though the door will remain available to staff and Orientation Center students using their key card, visitors will be redirected to enter the building through the north door on Watson Powell, Jr. Way. This newly designated main entrance is served by the wheelchair accessible ramp and has proven to be the entrance most visitors currently use. It will be unlocked at 8:00 a.m. as always for public access. Print and braille signage at the east door to redirect visitors to the north door and a temporary doorbell that will ring at the switchboard are designed to help with this transition.
The switchboard desk will remain where it is in the main lobby by the elevators and will allow the person staffing that desk to focus on answering and directing phone inquiries.
“The library and maintenance staff have worked hard to create a welcoming space that will help our entire agency to build community and provide better service to clients and patrons,” Department director Emily Wharton commented. “We are hopeful that this will be a stepping stone that will allow us to provide more services in a more cost effective manner. We have already been getting great ideas and suggestions.”
For more information https://blind.iowa.gov/