The San Francisco Public Library has recently started a great service which I hope will catch on in other libraries. Their new Book a Librarian project allows patrons to make an appointment with a librarian for in-depth help that can be difficult during a regular reference transaction. For example, this could benefit someone who is setting up their first email account and is unfamiliar with computers, or someone conducting extensive research who needs to learn how to make the most of the library's databases.
This could be especially useful in libraries like mine, which don't offer classes because there is no computer classroom. Also, now that some of us are concerned about the deprofessionalization of librarians I think this is a good way to lend more legitimacy to our positions while providing a very helpful service. We spend a lot of desk time dealing with non-reference issues like printer jams and computer sign-ups, so it would be great to spend some off-desk time offering such a personalized in-depth service.
I like this idea.
The program the library is offering should be helpful to anyone doing any kind of research. And let's not forget that there are many sources other than electronic available to a researcher. Many paper sources as well as other libraries and locations where information can be found. Any good reference librarian should be able to help in all this.
Paul, a former SFPL librarian.
Post a Comment