* This has been a very busy year for the Reference department. Our new Assistant Director, Freyja Sanger, is overseeing reference activities. Some changes include the introduction of reference department meetings. We put together a new Reference Manual that gives basic departmental information such as procedures, policies and locations of materials for use by people working in the department.
* We have eliminated four of our online databases due to low usage numbers. Patrons can use online databases from the Boston Public Library in place of these sources. We discarded Morningstar Mutual Funds since it is no longer available in print and we don’t feel the usage level justifies the high online cost.
* We are doing a large weeding project in the department to eliminate materials that are out of date, available online or would be better housed in the circulating collection. In doing this we have been influenced by a national trend to downsize print reference collections.
* We donated some books and maps that were no longer needed to other libraries. We are making a list of our newspapers on microfilm.
* Our Public Records project is progressing well. Volunteers are entering birth, marriage and death records from a card file into a database. The volunteers we have are very devoted and put in an amazing amount of work. Due primarily to this project we had 499 hours of volunteer work in our department for the 2013 fiscal year.
* Meetings and workshops were attended that covered the topics of Interlibrary Loan, our Evergreen catalog, and local history.
* Borrowing and lending books through Interlibrary Loan from and to other libraries continues to be a very busy service with a total of 33,677 materials borrowed and lent through the year. Our Internet computers also continue to be heavily used. 19,867 people used the Internet throughout the year.
* Reference questions include one in which we found newspaper articles about a local murder that took place many years ago and was never solved. It will be gratifying if we are able to help with the case.
October 21, 2013