Online Reference is one of the richest, and most amazing resources available at the library. It is also one of the most underused. We, the library staff, are confounded by this paradox…now more than ever. You see, we have all just attended a staff training course to better familiarize us with the wealth of information available to library users on our website. What we discovered, or rediscovered, is that a wealth of surprising, informative, practical facts and services are freely and easily accessible there.
Here are a few things you can find or do in the online reference section of our website (Note: some of these links require you to login with your library card barcode number and JJML account password*):
- Learn a language
- Find a good place to eat in Bangkok
- Learn how to make simple (and not so simple) home improvements
- Learn to fix your car
- Read an edition of the Sag Harbor Corrector newspaper from 1825
- Use Consumer Report’s online website free
- Use Ancestry.com free (only available from computers in the library)
- Find books similar to ones you’ve read and liked
- Get help writing your résumé
- Find a job
and so much more it would be impossible to list it all here.
So what’s the problem? Why aren’t more people taking advantage of the availability of this free service? We’re not sure, but we think one issue might be the name we gave it on our website: “Online Reference.” It’s just not a very friendly name. We suspect that very few people know what it means, or are aware of the incredibly useful stuff that is hidden there. We also think the word “reference” may put some people off. It sounds like it’s only for students, scholars, professors, or others who are into serious research. So we’re planning to rename the section, but…
We’ve been down this road before (it used to be called “Virtual Reference” and we’ve also referred to it as our “Virtual Branch,” which is even less clear). Given that history, we know that our ideas about what to call it probably won’t improve things much. We think a better plan is to ask you, our loyal customers, blog readers and Facebook fans. What do you think we should name this section of our website to make it more user-friendly? What would get people to actually click on the link?
Let us know your ideas for a new name for the Online/Virtual Reference section of our website. Please leave your suggestions in the comment section of this blog post, or on our Facebook page. To thank you for your help, if we pick your suggestion to be used on our website, you’ll get your choice of either a 32GB USB flash drive, or a wireless mouse. Please get your suggestions to us by April 30, 2013.
*If you don’t currently have a JJML password, click here to create one.