Saturday, March 31, 2007

Reference Questions (post vacation)

Yesterday was my first day back from vacation, and I was jetlagged and dealing with some genealogy questions I should have not entertained. Live it, learn it.

Where can I find a copy of today's paper? (Posed by one of our teen tech interns...)
Where can I find People?
Do you have Consumer Reports?
I need the phone number for the CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in Hartford, CT.
Do you have TurboTax?
I need an application for an international driver's license.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Reference Questions... (before vacation!)

I have a lot of desk time today. Which is fair, because I will have a lot of time in Europe next week! Yippee!!

So here we go,
I need tax forms, and I have these [a 1040EZ and CT Booklet]. Do these go together? I am not sure what I need.
Computer usage.
Request for two articles in the newspaper yesterday, one about property reevaluation and the other about proposed development in the South End. Patron also wanted to see if there was any visual renderings of the project on the developers website.
Did Jimi Hendrix write any books? I know Jim Morrison did. [ I said, "I don't think so, let's check, but I know he wrote some pretty awesome riffs!" And turns out, Jimi did not author any books in our collection, but we have a handful of biographies.]
I need to generate a list of environmental engineering consulting firms in New York and Connecticut.
Patron was looking for English (ESL) cassettes.
Computer stuff: how to print, card number look up.
Directional: to bathrooms, tax forms, copier, circulation.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Reference Questions on the last Monday of Winter

The name, address and CEO of Earthlink.
From my pal Alison, a Claude Levi-Strauss article about a birthing ritual with music and it was in Java or Bali. (Working on it!)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Reference Questions

I have this website to get a free Cingular telephone. Can you do it* for me? I don't want to deal with the internet.

*It being, go to the site, fill out all the information, so he can get his free Cingular telephone.

Small World of Librarianship

Like most fields, the library world is pretty small. And with the internet, it is even smaller! We love to blog! Share information and experiences! Collaborate over wikis! Flickr, podcasts, YouTube, oh my!

Kate Sheehan, Coordinator of Technology at Danbury Public Library has started a new blog that I love the name of, Loose Cannon Librarian. Kate and I crossed paths at library school, and I filled her shoes when she left the Ferguson Library.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Social Networking

I wrote this for my boss, and thought I might share it here as well. This is a bit of what I am doing when I am not on the desk.

- - - - -

Digital divides exist on many levels, and often within the homes of parents and their teenage children. To help bridge this gap, I have collaborated with Youth Services Librarian Rebecca Stine to offer workshops for parents about MySpace and other social networking tools. Our goal was to educate parents and guardians about the site, explore how the site functions in terms of profiles and search capabilities, examine the risks and dangers, and some of the constructive ways the site is used. We wanted to provide a space where parents could ask questions, see live examples, and gain an understanding of the benefits and risks, and leave with an awareness of social networking. We had an impressive turnout for our last session, 13 people and Channel 12 News did a brief spotlight about the class as well. Due to the recently publicly, and the interest it has generated, we will be offering this workshop again next month.

Professionally, I have been traveling to other libraries and conferences to speak about social networking tools to other librarians. These presentations examine how various libraries are using the technologies and the potential application within library framework. Web 2.0 tools, like blogs and wikis, have created environments that support collaboration both locally and globally, with other professionals or with patrons. With a working knowledge of these tools librarians can understand the context in which today's patrons, especially youth are connecting with each other and the world. Text messaging, YouTube, and Google have created an environment where information needs can be immediately met and the user may not have the same concerns about authority that information professionals have. As librarians, our roles are to help mitigate these differences by educating youth about information literacy and authority, and perhaps providing library services in these formats. Similarly, with the technology boom of the last decade and the rapid development and adoption of new applications, it is important that we, as librarians to keep our fingers on the pulse. Libraries are community centers for people to explore and utilize new technologies, where services on the cutting edge are offered. Libraries are community centers for people to learn about, explore, and utilize technology, and to be offering services on the cutting edge it is essential for librarians to be aware of the trends and future developments.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Hey librarians! Are you sick of hearing about scrotums (or scrota)? The New Yorker has a fabulous piece this week in the Shouts and Murmurs column.

Reference Questions

I would like to renew my materials.
I have a papaya and I am not sure if I can eat the seeds or not, and the fruit is not listed in my Joy of Cooking.
Help! I accidentally glued my fingers together with Super Glue! How do I unstick them?
I'd like to apply for a job at FedEx and I need to go online to do that, but I don't know how to use a computer! I don't even have an email address. (These are so tricky. On so many levels. This could be a whole separate blog post.)
Do you have any tax guides?
A colleague asked for assistance with a patron trying to print something. Patron thought she was getting three copies, but in fact what she wanted to print was three pages.
What is the Connecticard and how can I get one?
I would like to place a hold on the book The Self Publishing Manual.
Can you help me find a contact phone number for the Mantis corporation?

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Reference Questions

Are you the (can't make it out) library of Harry Bennett? (I provided her with the number for one of our branches.)
Five people wanted to use our computers.
What does this message mean? I have to shut the computer down? (Patron was asking about the desktop image which lists our computer usage policy and how to close your session.)
I would like to speak to the person who manages the visiting books program. (Discarded books to folks in nursing homes.)
I would like the phone number for PricewaterhouseCoopers on Atlantic Street in Stamford, CT. (Said in the loveliest British accent.)

And my Director of Public Services sent me this YouTube video.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Reference Questions: Four hour evening BONANZA!!!

Can I have a scrap of paper?
Can I use the men's room? (A woman. I told her that it probably wasn't clean and there was another restroom on the third floor.)
I am looking for international data about the number of students who graduate from high school and the number of students enrolled in college. It is for a company I work for to throw on (i love data questions!)
Do you have any quiet study rooms?
TAX FORMS!!!!!!!! (2 times!)
How can I access the Library of Congress holdings? Do I need a library card to search in their catalog? Can I print out the information I find in the catalog?
I'd like to make a reservation for the internet.
Biographies on Ray Barretto, Bernie Geoffrion, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Ricardo "Richie" Ray.
My computer mysteriously froze. (Restart! Check!)
Ugh, what is wrong with my screen? (The resolution needed adjustment. Check!)
Can I get an application for a library card?

"Monique has MySpace issues!!"
The sound of a soda can being opened.

Monday, March 5, 2007

the non reference question.

My job is to connect people with information and services. Sometimes those services include emergency medical responders. (Yes, I just said that.) Twice, since the start of the year I have had to call 911 to assist patrons.

Sometimes young women need young women products. Sometimes children just need a friendly smile and a someone to acknowledge them in a positive way. Sometimes old men just need an ear.

These skills and services probably won't ever be listed in my job description, and there isn't a gold star on my paycheck.

I am connecting people to kindness and goodness.

Reference Questions

Is blood blue when it is in your body? I remember hearing that in school, and wanted to check on it. (Patron is about 25. This one stumped me too! I remember being taught that as well. Turns out veins look blue due to the scattering and absorption of light of skin at different wavelengths, the depth of vessels and the visual perception. This question took some hunting in databases. I found it quickly in Wikipedia (I know, I know), but it illuminated how tricky it is to search for questions that are not technical. I found plenty of entries on veins and what they do, but not on this perception.)

Registration for my digital photography class. (Now full!)
Who is David Birline or David Dirline? (I have no idea. )
Questions about service.
Looking for New York Non resident tax forms.
I am looking for a type of business in Palm Beach County, FL. How would I go about getting a list?
I am looking for information on the forensics on the death of Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
Do you have any large paperclips?
I am looking for the Jewish Year Book that is published in London.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

Four hours of reference FUN!

Do you have The Miracle Worker on DVD?
I am looking for articles or books on the future of 35mm film photography.
I am looking for a book, ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life. Does your library carry this?
Where can I find these call numbers?

I am looking for articles on the common cold in children. Information about treatment, symptoms, and causes.
Do you have any DVDs on American History? Specifically the Trail of Tears or Cherokee Indians?
Is there an 800 customer services number for MySpace?
Do you have any Connecticut mastery test study guides?
Can you help me find this person's address? They live in New York City.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

MySpace for Parents

Whoa! Rebecca and I did our second MySpace for Parents class today, and we had 13 people! Great turnout!

This class takes a look at MySpace, FaceBook and YouTube and deconstructs the sites for parents. We look at the anatomy of the site and profiles, the nature of its use, what information is shared, privacy levels, how to search for people, and answered questions about the site.

One of the issues I struggle with is when a parent wants to examine their child's profile without their knowledge. "So, how do I see my son's profile? He has it listed as private." Maura the Librarian moonlighting as an online PI. I generally ask them if they have talked to their children about their use of social networking sites, and to come out and ask to see it. My goal is to teach parents about the uses of these sites in a safe environment, equip them with the knowledge to have conversations with their children. To understand the long term implications of social networking sites and who else is looking. And it is hard for me to tell someone who could be my parent how to parent, when I have no children myself.

The other fab thing is that Maura the Librarian was featured on the five o'clock news that evening! After the class ended, a reporter arrived and asked to interview me. I talked about what we did in the class and why it was important. We are going to offer it again next month as well. We did this class in October and had 5 people. I did get a speaking gig at another library through one of the participants. (Our director of public access said there was low turnout at all branches.) I did learn about the importance of marketing the program, and I think that made a difference. We were listed in the Stamford Advocate and sent press releases to the schools and PTA. It is also really nice to be in a library that has a marketing department.

These classes are also great because they are free! And I really enjoy connecting with members of the community and meeting their needs. These are days when I get home from work exhausted, but energized.

Reference Questions

I'd like to register for your MySpace for Parents class. (two!)
Where can I find this book? (a 306 call number.)
Is the Stamford Board of Reps the 27th or the 28th?
Books on writing cover letters.
Where are the CDs? I want to browse.