A reading table or lectern to support the book from which the liturgical service is read, differing from the pulpit from which the sermon is preached; also (esp. in the United States), a pulpit. Hence, used symbolically for "the clerical profession."
The area in front of the presiding officer's rostrum where the Secretary (or Clerk) and Reading Clerk supervise paperwork, receive messages from other house, and consult with the presiding officer.
The desk at the front of the chamber where much of the clerical work of the body is conducted. Also, a generic term for the staff and offices of the Chief Clerk of the Assembly and the Secretary of the Senate.