Here is my story about why I became interested in facility design (from "Building Digital Libraries for Analog People: 10 Common Design Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them" KQ, May/June 2000):
I once caught a glimpse of what purgatory must be like for school librarians. While student teaching in the mid-70’s in a small Iowa town, I watched the most hapless librarian I have ever met trying to do her job – which at that time was mostly keeping study hall students quiet and busy.
Her media center was, as are too still many yet today, two classrooms pushed together with perimeter shelving and a high circulation desk at the front of the long room near the door. The floor held just two tables near the circulation desk. The main seating was provided in rows of tall-sided study carrels running in long aisles down the length of the room. (See figure one)
The librarian spent most of the time I observed her running up and down those aisles of carrels trying to detect which students were making the little bird noises they knew drove her crazy. I believe this happened every hour of every school day. At least it was going on each time I visited the library. (That school building has since burned down. I like to think it was the act of a merciful God.)
A few years later when I was a school library media specialist myself, I overheard my principal say that he thought tall-sided carrels would be just the ticket for helping students work quietly in the new media center we were planning. My ears pricked up quicker than a dog’s. I decided it might not be a bad idea to be a bit more involved in the library design process.
Ah, it's good to be able to find oneself amusing. But it's my story and I am sticking to it.