Wednesday, February 2, 2011


What's going on? All of a sudden, the NYSL reference desk is getting a workout. Not that we mind it - in fact, it's about time. Have you all been sleeping for the last couple of months?

I've had quite a few email inquiries directly from writers in the past two days, several more inquiries from members and non-members alike to our general reference desk email account , and I was told there was a line of eager Reference Desk patrons yesterday afternoon (where are you all in the morning when I'm on the desk?).

I guess you are all back to work. Anyway, this is a good time to remind everyone that we are indeed here to HELP!

The internet may have changed the way you research and made it infinitely easier, but a skilled librarian could be your best kept secret. Today, the inquiries we get are less likely to be simple basic factual questions, because face it, that's pretty easy to find and validate on the web. Instead, we are often asked for more in depth support - when a Google search doesn't turn up what you need, we can assist with better search strategies, advise on where to find good print resources (I know it's shocking to consider, but not everything is on the web), how to locate primary sources of letters and manuscripts, and provide tutorials on using library paid subscription databases which require much more specific search strategies than you need to search Google or Bing. We also have lots of friends in lots of libraries - if we don't know, we call on our colleagues in other institutions.

Did you know that many, but not all of the world's libraries' resources are cataloged in WorldCat? It's a great resource, but you won't find NYSL's collection there or the collections of many other smaller libraries. So we have other tools to help you locate hard to find materials.

Stop by and talk to one of our crack Reference Desk staffers or email us. We're happy to give you hands on tutorials of our electronic resources, research assistance, tips for more efficient and successful web and catalog searching, referral cards for access to local area collections through our Metro membership, and handle interlibrary loan requests.

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