In the September 4th issue of the Beloit Daily News, an article appeared describing the Beloit library's "Changing Service Models." The article described how the traditional department structure of the library is being replaced by a "roving staff" of cross-trained employees who are trained to work on any of the new service desks.
While that may look good in print, how do you train a new staff of customer service representatives to do in a few weeks what degreed and experienced librarians have done for years?
The library director went on to say this new model is removing barriers between staff and customers. What barriers? I've always found the former service desks staffed by familiar and knowledgeable librarians a welcome sight. This was especially true in the Children's area and now all that's left there is an empty desk.
In 2015 the Beloit Library hosted a special program featuring Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UW Madison School of Medicine who also holds a degree in Library and Informational Science. One of the points Dr. Navsaria made was that outside organizations such as libraries can have "significant positive impacts on early development." He went on to say that these organizations provide opportunities outside the home for young ones "to experience the positive effects of reading, talking, singing, etc., activities that help build connections in a child's brain, which has an intense period of growth from birth to age three."
Considering the important connection between libraries and early childhood development, why would the Beloit library choose to remove the daily presence of a youth librarian from the Children's Department? It seems this "changing service model" has one vital component missing ... common sense.