Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Modular learning commons desk at ANU Library Menzies

I dropped into the R. G. Menzies Building to pick up a copy of "Running the war in Iraq"from the ANU Library. While there I noticed some new modular computer desks for use by borrowers. These are arranged in clusters of four around a central point. Each desk has three sides: two straight sides at 90 degrees and a curved front. The desks are not symmetrical, with one straight side about two thirds the length of the other. The desks are in mirror image pairs with sights screens between. The desks are about 1.6 m wide. All cables are run to the center of the cluster of desks and down to the floor. The cables are visible under the desk, but are not very noticeable amongst the four black back legs of the desks. Standard Dell PCs and monitors are used and the 90 degree angle results in there being plenty of depth on the desk to accommodate the equipment.

The curved fronts of the desks look good, but are not particularly functional, as the curve is so sharp that one hand tends to be unsupported when using the keyboard. It would be useful if two or three students were working together, but not in the section of the library for silent study. The library could save some space by making the front of the desk straight or concave, rather than convex.

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