or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 6/26/11

   July 2nd, 2011

Unshelved comic stripInstead of a reference question I've answered this week, I wanted to bring attention to a resource for librarians to ask questions.

In April, the very useful Unshelved Answers went off-line - it was a forum that let librarians ask professional questions of other librarians. I used it frequently, both asking and answering, and was sad when this resource went away.

But recent tweets from @codinghorror and @jessamyn reminded me of an effort to start up a replacement Libraries forum - I say "effort," because it'll take your help to make it happen.

The new home will be at stackexchange.com, which requires a critical mass of people to "commit" to a new forum before it is activated. As I write this, we've got 316 of the 894 needed committers, so we still need more librarians to get involved. But don't let the word "commit" scare you - you're not dedicating your life to anything, just showing that you support the idea of the forum and will use it (at your own level of involvement).

The idea behind this Libraries forum, and Unshelved Answers before it, is to create a "reference desk for librarians" - but the official proposal description reads:

Proposed Q&A site for librarians and library professionals where they can share their expertise about libraries and everything in them.

In other words, this will be a place where we can ask questions about working in a library, seek help on reference questions, find out how other libraries are handling a particular issue, and, yes, whether or not we need more signs in the library (no).

And who better to ask than other librarians?

So please, take a minute, visit the new Librarians forum proposal page and click the green Commit! button - together we can make this happen, and together we can help each other make libraries better. Thanks.

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3 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 6/26/11”

  1. ash966 Says:

    Just wanted to say, I’ve gotten some great help from PUBLIB (http://lists.webjunction.org/publib/) for library issues and Project Wombat (http://project-wombat.org/) for reference questions and I try to contribute myself.

    I know some people don’t want to commit to a mailing list, but on the other hand they have been around long enough to build up a reputation as helpful.

    Anyway, the more resources the better, so I’ve signed up for this one.

  2. Amanda Says:

    You might also check out Library Thing. There’s a group on there called Librarians who LibraryThing where questions such as these are sometimes answered, albeit a little less professionally.

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