Re: Paralax screens

andrew mutch (
Wed, 09 Apr 1997 13:03:33 -0400

HOL Kelli Perkins wrote:
> We saw one of these arrangements when we toured the three new libraries
> during MLA in October. I think our staff agreed that it had some
> problems, but I'm sure MLA could tell you which libraries the tours went
> to and you can check with them. I just can't remember which library it was!
> Kelli--Holland

Northville District Library is the library that you visited. We went
with the paralax screens at the circulation desk when we moved into our
new building last October.

The major benefit of the paralax arrangement is a visual one. It clears
the desk of computer workstations, cords, etc. It reduces the visual
clutter and leaves a very clean looking desk. Also, on-desk
workstations can take away from direct face-to-face interaction between
staff and patrons. The paralax screens allow patrons and staff to
interact without a computer between them.

I don't work on the circulation desk but I did talk to the staff and
I'll pass along their comments.
First, don't expect this arrangement to save space. In fact, you may
need extra space to maneuver the books around the screen.
(For those not familiar with the arrangement, the monitor sits under the
desk at approximately a 45 degree angle and is viewed through the desk
through a piece of thick glass.) Your staff needs to be able to see the
monitor, which means you just can't pile books in the middle of the
Also, you need to be very aware of the lighting and the potential for
glare. If not done properly, it can create an intolerable situation for
The inability to adjust the position of the monitor can also create
problems. Staff have to adapt to the position of the workstation, not
the other way around. Some staff members have had problems with the
levels of the keyboard while others find that they have to lean over the
desk to see the monitor.
Also, be aware that these monitors also need shielding for privacy.
Snoopy patrons can still see the monitor screens if they crowd the desk.

As one staff member put it, they take a lot of getting use to. I don't
think there is a love or hate feeling about them. The staff has
adapted to them. There is no "perfect" arrangement so you'll have to
decide which considerations are most important.

If you need any more information, please e-mail me.

Andrew Mutch
Northville District Library