Hydrangea blossoms in the gardens created by landscape designer Hilarie Holdsworth.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE REFERENCE DEPARTMENT
Our main focus this past year as always was to provide the best possible service to our patrons. We provide reference service of all types to any and all patrons. For example we helped a patron with poor vision access Overdrive, our service that allows patrons to download or listen to audio books on a computer. We also assisted a low-income patron who needed information about finding free legal aid.
GLOUCESTER LYCEUM & SAWYER FREE LIBRARY
We sponsored two workshops conducted by the North Shore Career Center. They received a lot of interest because of the downturn in the economy. The first program on March 4 was “Networking and the Hidden Job Market” and the second on March 11 was “Organizing Your Job Search.”
We also evaluated online databases to keep current with the needs and wants of our patrons. The databases we have acquired this year are Heritage Quest, a genealogy database and CultureGrams which contains information on countries of the world and will be especially useful for students. We have also decided to purchase a database which we previously received through the Region, Literary Reference Center.
Jen Searl went to the Newburyport Public Library as part of the Shadowing program offered by the NMRLS region. She was able to spend time “shadowing” Newburyport staff and got some ideas for improvements to our department. Some of these have been implemented in our local history collection.
We conducted some one-on-one sessions with patrons to give assistance in accessing the Internet. We let the patrons choose what specific areas they wanted to cover. There is a need for these since there are few places that offer this on a free basis. Standing orders were placed for test study guides in the areas of careers, the GED, college entrance exams, etc. to fill a need in these heavily-used areas.
In December 2008 a library staff blog was created using WordPress. We purchased a map holder for our rolled up maps in Active Storage which has greatly improved access. To increase accessibility on the Internet we installed magnifiers on the computers. We have increased signage and purchased a bulletin board as well as put up a display table with books on subjects such as the holidays and the economic downturn.
Very unfortunately one of our reference librarians, Jen Searl, left the library as of April 1, 2009. She has been very much missed and we have not been able to replace her yet. A manual of reference procedures and information is now available for the use of the staff that covers the department in the reference librarian’s absence.
Interlibrary Loan continues to be a very busy well-used service. The delivery company which brings us our materials, Eastern Connection, has improved their performance over the past few months. We now have greater efficiency and timeliness resulting in better service to the patrons.