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

Monday, March 30, 2009

If you haven't gotten the bug yet...

The amazing resources in Boston will convert you! Last Thursday, the bus full of Central Mass genealogists journeyed along the sunlit expanse toward Boston. Once we were on the way, I exclaimed "I'm going to Boston! I'm going to Boston!" Clearly, I don't get out much. The digs at The New England Historic Genealogical Society (HisGen) and The Congregational Library were gorgeous:


HisGen is one of the consummate New England genealogical resources. They house an impressive breadth of vital and other records. Each of their staff has areas of specialization, boasting in depth knowledge of Pilgrim, Irish and French Canadian genealogy. One of their staff studies matrilinear genealogy. They are accessed by a membership donation and also online:

On our way from Newbury Street and up Beacon Hill, we walked right past where the other half lives. The landscapers were out, and as a self-proclaimed architectural aficionado, I walked down the street looking up and going "Wow! Wow!"

The Congregational Library,, also has a beautiful physical presence. The main hall brings to mind an old-fashioned reading room. The archive and library are a treasure trove for those of us with Congregational roots. The collection has profited from the gifts of an early benefactor, S. Brainard Pratt, who donated his collection of more than 300 bibles. The display room of his bible collection is what he named the "Biblearium." With this and his scrapbook of correspondence and pictures from his acquisitions Pratt created a unique historical resource.

The brisk Spring Boston afternoon greeted us outside of The Congregational Library and we tooled home, all of us overstimulated and sated.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


One of my professors in graduate school liked to talk about the concept of serendipity in reference work. This seemed particularly strange at the time because it was Introduction to Library Resources where our assignments consisted of answering “reference questions” using specific reference titles. But as most of us now know, sometimes you find the answers through sheer serendipity.
I happened upon a reference to the Special Library Association’s 23 Things Initiative in an article I was reading online.

23 Things is an association-wide learning initiative introduced by Stephen Abram to help us all be in a position to innovate…The idea is that we all commit 15 minutes a day or about an hour (or two -- because you'll get hooked!) a week to learning and practicing with these new tools.
This is a self-discovery program which encourages us all to take control of our own learning and to utilize lifelong learning skills through exploration and PLAY. …

If you run SLA 23 Things as a search, you will find the initiative. I decided to check it out, especially since I am serendipitously registered to attend How Blogger, and other Web 2.0 Tools Have Enhanced Management offered by CMRLS at Worcester Public Library later this month. Maybe I’ll get some practice in beforehand…

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We Deal With Criticism

Metacritic's mission is to help you make an informed decision about how to spend your money on entertainment.

If you want the scoop on a movie playing at the theatre,or available on dvd in a quick, concise, and authoritative way, check out this site.

Metacritc compiles reviews from respected critics and publications for film, video/dvd, music, games, and television shows.

Their unique Metascores show the critical consensus at a glance by taking a weighted average of critic grades.

Almost everything entertainment in one

Friday, March 06, 2009

2 cool 2 crochet?

2 cool 2 crochet?

You would be surprised! The craft movement is operating in full retro / comeback mode. The movement has generated a following from new generations who have unexpected ideas. Whether you are quitting smoking or on a clothes budget, try our resources for inspiration.

Here's some advice to get you started:

  • Try our craft books in the New Nonfiction area of the Worecster Public Library

  • Check out - the world's most addictive website!

Back at you later with more happenings in pop culture!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

World News from Everywhere

GlobalPost has consistently produced interesting news stories not often seen in the popular press. Its correspondents live in the countries they cover. They and the other employees are shareholders in the for-profit company. I like that I can search by topic, geographic area, or by correspondents. Use of the site is free, with costs paid by online advertising, syndication, and a higher paid membership.

LearningExpress Library

LearningExpress Library, the online test preparation site that offers study aids, and career resources has recently had a facelift. The new 2.0 version which came out in February now has a colorful, attractive design. Tests and courses are organized by related topics into “Learning Centers” and are much easier to locate. If you prefer to view the contents of all learning centers in one big list, you can do that as well. Patrons will find the added search box feature very useful since they can search by keyword or test name.

Are your patrons looking for the account they set up in the old version and are wondering what happened to it? "My Account" is now called "My Center". Any tests, courses or ebooks your patrons had in My Account have all been moved to My Center. Once they log in with their username and password, they will find My Center on the upper right corner of the screen.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Radical Reference

My curiosity got the best of me when I read the email forwarded through CMRLS about an upcoming Western Massachusetts Radical Reference meeting. Are the Berkshires filled with radical librarians, decked out in tie-dye shirts and plotting an overthrow of traditional reference practice? According to the national website, "Radical Reference originated as a service provided by volunteer library workers from all over the United States to assist demonstrators and activists at the convergence surrounding the Republican National Convention in New York City August 29-September 2, 2004. We are evolving, expanding our services, and continuing to utilize our professional skills and tools to answer information needs from the general public, independent journalists, and activists."

So, being curious, I had to check it out...this interactive site is loaded with blog posts on a variety of subjects, links to online reference tools, a wiki and both answered and unanswered questions submitted by librarians, activists and journalists. They have a dream list of future projects you can get involved in, and there's also some discussion about expanding services to include outreach to teens and schools. It doesn't matter what your political affiliation is, just browse around and see what piques your interest!

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