Sharing new ideas, resources, knowledge and technology to keep abreast of new development in reference service field

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How to Use WPL's "Member E-resource Card"

All CMRLS member public and school libraries*, have received or will soon be receiving a Worcester Public Library "Member E-Resource Card."

Each library has been given one card, which is intended to support librarians as they help their patrons find information. These cards are single-user cards because Worcester Public Library's database licenses do not permit multiple off-site usages. We hope you will find the resources in these databases valuable as you assist your patrons, and we appreciate your support in using them as they were intended. Unfortunately, misuse of these cards could result in the loss of the databases if use exceeds the license.

Worcester Public Library also provides other reference support services for member libraries' staff and patrons.

  • A toll free number (1-800-562-0080) is available to librarians all the hours that our library is open.
  • Worcester Public's Reference Librarians staff the MassAnswers 24/7 Virtual Reference service to provide your patrons with round-the-clock access to professional librarians who can answer their questions.
  • We provide e-mail reference for your patrons' more in-depth questions, especially those involving local history or genealogy.

All these services are provided to you, your library and your patrons, through our role as your Regional Reference Center.

*Other CMRLS Member Libraries are welcome to apply for a card if they feel the databases will support their work. Please e-mail to request a card. Cards are sent care of the Head Librarian of each institution.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Online Workshops through Simmons

Professional Education News from Library School
Friday, November 9, 2007

Online Workshops through Simmons
For those who are interested, Simmons College offers a variety of online workshops. While we all know that the drive from Worcester to Boston is time consuming (especially when it's snowing) online courses allow the individual to learn from the comfort of their own home or local library. Here are a few courses that are currently being offered online: Introduction to Virtualization and Linux Administration, Reference Collection Development on the Web, Beyond Booklists & Book Discussions for Youth: Shifting Formats and Multiple Venues , We Live Online: Exploring Virtual Communities , and The Read/Write Web: Social Software and Libraries. There are many more listed on Simmons website at

An additional benefit for those Simmons Alumni out there (and I know that there are many of you) is that you receive a voucher worth $20 applicable toward the cost of another GSLISCE workshop. And if you are a current GSLIS student, you receive 50% off any online course.

Please feel free to email me at if you would like any more information on these workshops.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Some holiday questions

When do you start displaying your books for the December holidays? I usually start the day after Thanksgiving. Do you think I' m jumping the gun or being too slow.

The other problem I have is coverage. I have plenty on the religious and secular aspects of Christmas; enough on Hanukkah especially when I add in some Jewish cookbooks and craft books. Worcester Public Library has a handful of books on Kwanzaa and even a couple on observing the Winter Solstice; but after that I have a problem. Does anyone know of any in print books on other religions' holidays. It doesn't have to be just winter holidays; something covering a year of holidays would be fine. Ideally I would like books with bright covers inexpensive enough that I could buy multiple copies ( I know I' asking for a lot; but I'll settle for less.) Also does anyone know of anything on winter carnivals or snow festivals?

Worcester Data Records

The Office of the City Clerk of Worcester has made some data record searches available online. It is for some birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, business certificates and dog licenses.

Go to the City of Worcester homepage and click on "City Clerk" on the left. Then click on "Data Records Search."

Birth Records Search has dates for any birth that occurred within the city limits of Worcester, MA between 1899 and the present time. Enter only the first and last name. It will not work if you put in a middle initial. If there is more than one person with that name it will list their full names to make it easier to find your person.

Marriage Record Search will show dates of marriages that took place on an intention of Marriage filed at Worcester City Hall since February, 1980. You only need one person's name, but read the instructions because which name in which field makes a difference.

Death Records Search will get dates for any person whose death occurred within the city limits of Worcester, MA and for any Worcester resident who passed away in any other Massachusetts community between 1978 and the present. Only last name and first name needed.

Business Certificate Record Search is for any active DBA.

Dog License Record Search is for any active dog license. You may search with license number, street name and house number, or owner's last name.

This may come in handy when patrons are doing genealogy or want an obituary but do not have exact date of death.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

U.S. Government Documents Online

Worcester Public Library is entering into our OPAC, catalog records for U.S. government documents that are available online. This makes these documents easier to access. For example, if you were looking for the document on city planning, This Is Smart Growth, you can find it in the OPAC by its title; or subject headings (City planning-United States; Urban policy-United States; or Urbanization-United States). You can then access the full document online by clicking on the “Connect to” block. This is one of many documents that are available only online. There are also documents that are available in both tangible and electronic formats. So that, although the Worcester library receives the statistical document Crime in the United States, when you find the record for it in the computer it will have a link to the online version as well and you can obtain all the data without having to come to Worcester to use the paper copies. Not all documents, however, are available in an online version so you will still find many in the catalog that have only the tangible item in our collection.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Audiobook collection at WPL

The Worcester Public Library's audiobook collection contains audiobooks on cd, cassette and playaways. As we all know, library materials with more than one piece can be a problem, especially with cds and cassettes. If you see that an audiobook is in "repair" status, please do not place a hold on it because it is not a guarantee that the broken cd or cassette will be replaced. Some titles we are not able to order replacements for or the condition of the title as a whole does not warrant replacing one part. In addition, I am sure it is helpful to all who are in charge of audiobooks if the patron tells us which cd or cassette is not working, write it down and put it on the cover of the case to let us know what the problem is. Some problems are not always visible.

Let's encourage patrons to use audiobooks while doing activities other than just driving or exercising. I enjoy them while doing housework, cooking, baking, knitting, sewing,and some nights I am just too tired to hold a book so I sit and listen while I pet the cats. I am sure I am not the only one with more than one pet who wants attention and audiobooks are a great way to free up both hands to pet two animals. Are there parents who say they are going on a long car trip? Encourage them to try audiobooks with their children in the car. It is an activity everyone can participate in. I have revisited some terrific titles that way and enjoyed some new childrens books as well. My son enjoys them so much he will often stay in the car listening while I get the mail- and then requests that we bring it inside to listen. For younger new listeners suggest a title that has been made into a movie that the child may have seen and will be familiar with, or a book that they may have had read to them that they enjoyed.

As we encourage patrons to listen more, let's also encourage them to handle audiobooks with care. It is extremely frustrating to have a disc or cassette not work when you are well into the book. Happy Listening!

E-mail Reference at WPL

Our email reference service is available to everyone. There is a link from this blog on the right hand side, just click on "email reference." There is also a link from the Worcester Public Library homepage This service is for reference questions. If there are questions about circulation or interlibrary loan, the questions should be called in or emailed to circulation. This will ensure that you get an answer in a more timely manner. If you are unsure of where to direct your question you can call us or go ahead and email us and we will pass it on to the right person.

In addition, if you or your patron needs an answer within hours, the question should be called in rather than emailed since our librarians are assigned other duties as well each day and may not be able to check the email for a few hours at a time. We do try to answer the emails as quickly as possible, but sometimes it may take a few days before we are able to gather information requested due to our work schedules. This is especially true for obituary requests and periodical articles.

Please advise patrons to read the request page completely for guidelines on how many requests may be sent at once and what information is required from them. They need to fill out the request form completely each and every time they place a request. This gives us the information we need to respond quickly to the requests without trying to look through older emails or ask the patron to email us with the information. At this time there is no charge for this service

Friday, November 02, 2007

Question about Member Card for WPL E-Resources

Some libraries might receive a Member Card to access WPL remote e-resources yesterday. Kelly from Bolton asked "Is there a designated place on the website where this card can be used?"

The answer is YES. The URL is

Sorry for forgetting to include it on the instruction sheet. If you have any more questions, please send email to Ping or call 508-799-1663.

CMRLS Regional Reference Center, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Sq, Worcester MA 01608