Contextual Inquiry at the Monterey Public Library

I did my inquiry at the Monterey Public Library.  I picked the location for making my observations carefully: I sat at a desk upstairs where I could easily observe the upstairs of the library.  It was also relatively trivial to observe the downstairs, all I had to do was stand up and look down.  Here are my observations from yesterday:


  1. There are two people who appear to be watching movies
  2. Two, maybe three, people who look like they are homeless
  3. One person taking a nap
  4. Three people in the other area with tables and chairs who all appear to be studying
  5. One Hispanic person who walked by
  6. A guy with a baseball cap who stood near me
  7. A woman with black & grey hair walked towards me.  She was reading, then she walked off towards a table area near me.


  1. Librarian talking at normal volume with patrons checking out books
  2. Three people who are browsing the internet on public access computers  (Out of five computers total)
  3. One person reviewing the new releases shelf
  4. One person who accidentally set of the circulation alarm
  5. Two people browsing the Teen Zone
  6. Two (or three) people chatting about DVDs
  7. One dad pushing a baby in a stroller
  8. One baby crying, possibly the same one.
  9. New sign near the Youth Area that says “READ” in block letters (The letter appear to be colored by children)
  10. Man and woman walking into the Youth Area.  Woman appears to be wearing a hijab
  11. Mother & daughter checking out books from the librarian at the Single Service Desk
  12. Grey haired woman walking out of the Teen Zone
  13. Reference Librarian, Karen, walking towards the staff area with a black woman who is a new librarian
  14. Black woman patron who is waiting at the reference desk – no one was at the desk, although a librarian returned to assist her shortly.

At first I wondered why there were so “many” people stopping near me.  I realized why this was occurring when I ended up leaving my seat and walking downstairs.  There is a table there with a “Free Books” section where the library gives away books.  I think it’s been there all along, I had just forgotten about it.