Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies
M.L.S., University of Maryland
M.A., Northwestern University
B.A., Cornell University
I love a good reference question, one where the answer is not obvious and requires a bit of digging. It is like a puzzle to solve: Where might the information be found? How can I find it?
At my first library job, working for a business consulting company, I learned about the value placed on good information and research skills. One of my all-time favorite reference questions came via a phone call from the firm’s CEO. He was with a client and needed to know what percentage of people typically renewed their auto insurance with the same company, and he was going to call me back in 10 minutes to get the answer. Oh, and he needed it to be from a reliable source.
After I left the fast-paced world of corporate librarianship and as more and more information became available on the Internet, the role of a librarian—both for me personally and for librarians in general—began to change. Being able to search is still important, but with so much information available, one can almost always find some information. Unfortunately, it is not always the best information. Librarians today often find themselves spending more time teaching people how to evaluate the information they do find. This is a skill that can only become more valuable in future.