examples of “on the fly” reference

One of the things I am known for, for better or worse, is doing “on the fly” reference work at places like Burning Man, the WTO and the DNC. I’m happy to be one of the inspirations for the Radical Reference project that bloomed during the RNC and is still going strong. Since I had an extra day off this week in addition to my usual two, I’ve been doing more of this. I thought I’d share a few examples since the more we equate our problem-solving and information-finding skills with our chosen field of librarianship, the better it will be for us and our profession.

  • helped Alison Bechdel get her RSS feed working on her Dykes to Watch Out For blog via IM
  • After getting an email that told me that the ALA-WA office’s library copyright web site had been hacked, got on IM to a few people to spread the word, found someone who knew how to fix it, he called them, and helped them log in to their hacked site and take it down.
  • Someone posted a question on a web site I frequent about getting a back issue of a magazine from someplace more quickly than from the publisher. After some savvy reference interviewing, I figured out that she only needed one article from one magazine. I found it using Expanded Academic Index [available online from my library] uploaded a pdf and gave her a link to it.

My point, and I do have one, is that this isn’t just me who is able to do this. Many librarians can. They save people time, money, frustration, and face. We should be communicating that every chance we get, so here’s me, doing that.