Tag Archives: reference

Se habla Espanol? Polska? Italiano?

I’ve taken a substitute Librarian gig at a local library with a large Spanish speaking population.  You know what I didn’t learn in Library School?  How to say “You can only have five videos at a time” in Spanish.  It would come in handy.

I’m wondering if there is a resource librarians can go to if they are on desk and someone who doesn’t speak English comes in?  It’s great if you have a native speaker on staff, but let’s face it, we are an increasingly globalized culture and our patrons reflect that.  There’s no way we can be prepared to face every possible language that can come in on any given day.  Is there a place where librarians can go and choose a language and then select common library phrases or terms to use?

Babelfish and other services don’t always translate quiet right, and it would be nice to have a resource like that on hand.  I might just make it if no suggestions come up…

Rockin’ Out Reference

As I write this, I’m watching Holly Hibner of Salem-South Lyon District Library and Christine Tobias of Michigan State University present on Tech Tools for Reference.

Check out the presentation online at http://www.slideshare.net/hhibner

(Thanks for the Twitter love, Holly!)

Us, but better.

Well, I hadn’t planned on posting today.  But one moment I go to my desk to get something, the next I find myself flipping through the September 15th issue of Library Journal.  Way to stay on track!

Anyways, Lauren Lampstone writes in Reference Backtalk (pg. 88) that earlier this year, The New York Public Library’s Best of Reference committee saw an amazing site.  A presentation by librarians that was “Saturday Night Live meets middle school talent show meets reference – a reference pageant, an encyclopedic extravaganza, a carnival sideshow announcing new and exciting resources”.

And my next immediate thought was – we can all do this.

Librarians are damn funny.  I laugh a lot when I am in a meeting with librarians.  Well, usually.  We need to take our show on the road.  Reference at the mall anyone?  Opening act for the high school symphonic concert?

And we can’t be wonky.  By wonky I mean, using the library lingo.  We need to be quick-witted, timely, and jargon free.  Y’know, us, but better.

Other cool ways of putting ourselves out there in presentation type ways?  What about Pecha Kucha?

I think we owe it to ourselves to brave embarassment and go out on a limb.

Well, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but I think we need to start thinking about new ways to put ourselves in peoples’ paths.  SNL style.  😉


I am trying to write a book.  Of course, I’m struggling with a topic.  Y’know, it’s kind of hard to be super original in our profession.  I think it’s because we’re all a bunch of smarty-pants.  That’s actually a good thing but of course, it leaves those middle-of-the-pack semi-intellectuals (aka me) stuck reinventing the wheel.  Hmmm, I will come up with something, I’m sure.  Reference on rollerblades????  With a tablet pc too, of course.

And of course, I am a crappy blogger…11 days without an update.  Forgive me.

Info Nuggets

When you work with high school students and young college students the name of the game is speed. Basically, they are less likely to come to see us for reference assistance if we are 1) slow 2) provide info they could easily find themselves 3) don’t know when to end the dang reference interview.

My recommendation is that when you get a kid who actually comes up to with a question, hit them with a good, high quality info nugget that you keep just for the occasion. Store them on your desktop by subject or in your browser bookmarks. High quality, slightly general, usually unknown resources. So then the kid comes up to you with the question, start the reference interview, print out the resource and hand it to them. And then say “stay with me here and look through that…I think I have some things for you”. Because let’s face it, the reason they love the Internet is the INSTANT information, no matter how wrong. So give them an info nugget that’s actually useful, and then work your mojo.