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Directors Do It All: Reference

Questions & Answers

Answering questions is a whole lot of the job. Patrons will ask about:

  • Book recommendations
  • Technology help/troubleshooting
  • Local history resources
  • Government resources
  • And more!

We call it a reference interview, but it's really just a conversation. Like any conversation, there's give and take. Be sure you understand what the patron is looking for and ask questions that will help you direct them to the best resource.

And remember, you don't have to give an instant answer. You can always say, "I don't know, but I can find out."

Online Reference Resources - Quick Facts

During most reference interactions you'll end up following the patron's lead and finding the resource that fits their need. But there are times when knowing where to go for the quick fact comes in handy! Here are a few sites that will serve you well:

  • Census Data: visit this site for a wealth of population data gathered by our federal government. It's easiest to search for a specific city, village, town, county, or state. Once the results are shown you can access the stats by clicking on the dark blue profile box on the right side of the screen to explore the data.
  • Goodreads: a social cataloging website that allows users to search for books and reviews. This a great place to find information on series numbers or what real readers are thinking about specific books.
  • imdb.com: access movie and TV show ratings, reviews, content, cast lists, and more!
  • Wikipedia: a free encyclopedia. Understand that anyone can update this website at any time, whether their information is factual or not! However, if you have no idea what your patron is asking about, this is a good place to start. You can almost always get a basic understanding of the topic at hand.
  • World Factbook: this is a resource produced by the CIA containing quick facts about countries of the world.

NCLS Resources

NCLS offers a variety of online resources for patrons, from genealogy to job seeking.

Depending on the resource, access may require creation of an account.

Professional Reading