The Seattle PTRC is located in the Engineering Library at the University of Washington.
The last year has been one of building improvements. The first phase of our “re-imagination” of the first floor of the Engineering Library is nearly complete. Our reference collection and the PTRC are located on our first floor. The floor also is the primary business center of the library, with circulation, reference and reserve, in addition to computer workstations, printer and scanner. We removed our reference desk, relocating reference and research services, including patent and trademark research assistance, to our circulation desk. Our combined “Information Desk” is still a work in progress, but all is going well. We reduced the size of our reference collection, moving many of those books to our stacks and sending indexes/abstracts to storage. Although PTRC information, assistance, and primary materials are still located on the first floor, we moved our patent microfilm and Official Gazettes to other floors in order to free up user space.
We received funding for some new furniture and reconfigured the floor to incorporate new computer tables, chairs and mobile study tables. We also deployed easy chairs and other more comfortable seating options. A new security gate and a wood and glass security barrier were installed at our entrance. The first floor is definitely more attractive and welcoming. The students are pleased with the new environment. Next up in the first floor project: new signage, further work on the Information Desk, and the PTRC Research Area. Right now, we are relying on our general public workstations for our patent and trademark patrons. We are planning on setting up a PTRC-dedicated workstation and work area on the first floor and relocating the DVDs and some other patent and trademark materials to that location. My goal is to get this up and running this summer.
We also added or relocated electrical outlets on all floors to accommodate the increasing demands to plug in a multitude of devices. Some pull-down outlets are suspended from the ceiling on take-up reels. This allowed us to provide power to tables in the middle of 2 floors.
Hopefully, we can secure further funding to improve the seating and study rooms on the upper floors. We have applied for student technology fee funding to acquire video/computer screens for each study room, and we are exploring a pilot test of whiteboard paint to use on the walls of group study rooms.
Of course, there is no time to spare…the UW Libraries, as part of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, is switching to a new integrated library system, Ex Libris (Alma & Primo), in June and July, so LOTS of work and training ahead!