Saturday, November 15, 2008

Portsmouth Public Libraries: Land Of the Pharos

Yesterday HR Transit Ideas' Michael Ragsdale and I went riding on Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) newly-established Route 65, the Jordan Bridge Limited. (As for yesterday's operational execution by HRT, I don't use that kind of language on my blog.)

Arriving in Portsmouth about 90 minutes ahead of Michael, I went a half-block to Portsmouth's main library. I had been there twice before.

The building itself looks nice from the outside. Inside, it's small by the standards of main libraries in Hampton Roads. We have a few branches in Virginia Beach about the same size.

The amusing thing was their Internet computer system. Only 6 computers are available, but the highlight was the registration system they used. The Pharos program has you register on an unit at an adjacent table. Your name then goes into the queue. A monitor displays the names in order with the estimated wait time for each. When your unit opens up, the monitor tells you which unit to report to. It's similar to an airport flight display.

The appalling thing in Portsmouth is the lack of quality meeting rooms. The main library and Churchland branch each have small meeting rooms. However, nothing on the scale of Chesapeake or Norfolk, yet alone Virginia Beach,

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