Does Your Library Provide Current Awareness Services?

The following are answers to the question: does your library provide current awareness services? Reference librarians at North American public and academic libraries were asked to answer this question as part of a study of librarian reading habits.


We do not have such a service.

We do not have a current events service.

There is no such service.

We belong to a consortium called Suburban Library System and they provide reference workshops monthly throughout the year for all the members.

We have a staff communication notebook, where daily notes are written for all staff to sign off on. If a newsworthy event is hard to find information on, then we leave a note about where to find information for all staff to see.

Our current awareness service consists of email, a notebook on the duty desk, and word of mouth.

We subscribe to Facts on File, which does a good job of highlighting major news events, but rarely get a chance to read it.

We discuss them in staff meetings and send out memos as appropriate.

Special new interest sites found by staff members are brought up at weekly staff meetings. Daily contact among staff members help them to pass on information on current topics that school children are asking about, and as director, I email information that I receive from various lists.

I bring items to the staff's attention (as do all of us). We have staff meetings, bulletin board, and email. We use them all.

We have a bulletin board in our lounge where we post articles concerning library issues. And all our librarians subscribe to listservs.

I forward useful email to the reference staff.

Not formally. Some might be covered in a staff meeting but this is not the object of our staff meetings.

All of our staff belong to our book club which meets once a month. We discuss fiction, non-fiction and other areas of interest. We also meet, as a staff, on a regular basis. Often during the work day, we will discuss books and reviews.

To provide ongoing CA, we use email, and a binder with both current events of note and collection subject shorts. Email is sent only when a colleague deems that it's warranted. Otherwise, we can use the binder maybe once a month?

Journals are routed. The chief librarian emails a listserv digest to all staff.

We attempt to keep staff abreast of new developments mostly by memo or email.

No, there is no current awareness service in our system, no systematic method. The chief librarian tries to send us a Canadian library newservice about library events, trends, etc., but nothing about news in general.

If something of importance has happened that I have seen in the newspapers, on television, heard on radio, or seen on the Internet, I do make my staff aware of these items by telling them or emailing the information.

We have a bulletin board in the staff room and the reference department has an Intranet that is updated weekly. We put general alerts on the Intranet as well as schedules. Librarians can recommend sites to each other via the Intranet.

Our staff shares information through email and an online bulletin board. In addition, we route professional journals and newsletters. We also meet once a month.

If we get an assignment or question that all branches or coworkers are experiencing then we do have email through the library system and a daily notebook that we write in regarding upcoming events or FYI information.

At monthly staff meetings, I am encouraged to tell other staff about any websites that I come across in reading professional journals or that I hear about on TV. Not just reference staff.

Staff email each other.

Staff meetings once a week where we bring up items of various interest. The State has reference training periodically and Reference staff in our library system trains branch staff annually. Head librarians go to state meetings and bring home and train branch employees on reference use. Circulation employees usually are concerned about not having enough time to use the reference tools.

Most common method for us is email left by all staff as soon as they see a trend in requests. We also leave immediate notes on the desk for the librarians to read. For example, the address of our local Democratic Party headquarters in our town was found by a librarian and posted on email. Also, warnings of class assignments or situational details on patrons if there might be a need for follow-up.

We circulate professional magazines and newsletters.

We use our staff meetings for going over issues that we all need to hear at once, and we have a notebook for news pertaining to staff, but most of it is internal news and not community issues.

We email each other to let the other know of a resource that is extremely valuable to the staff.

We use alerts from staff members, email and staff meetings to stay aware of current events.

We fall a bit flat in this area, I think. We try to guide non-librarian staff to the best online reference sources and search engines, etc. with brief inservice workshops for a few individuals and at staff meetings, a sort of minute of reference. But other than that we rely on their curiosity to be online themselves. Our Central Library provided workshops online and electronic reference sources and we try to send those to everyone on staff.

We are expected to keep current, as all humans should.

Yes, our district library sends reference staff emails called Reference Alerts, which gives reference staff information from our local newspaper on upcoming educational classes in our area, bank ratings, local population statistics, etc. The alerts may be helpful for future information needs of patrons based on the expertise of the reference staff working with patrons in the district library.

We have staff meetings, a monthly newsletter, email, and bulletin boards.

We do get bulletins from district meetings and some notes by email.

We have internal memos that circulate through the Information Department, but for the most part these deal with procedural matters, not current events. We have Information Department staff meetings several times a year and there's just no time to have them more frequently. We also have a notebook at the reference desk that staff members use to jot down any information that everyone needs to know. New reference books are places on a side desk until all staff have seen them.

We provide Kiplinger's Letter. We have a bulletin board where we post information of upcoming events, such as classes for English as a Second Language classes, concerts, plays, etc.

Staff meetings, newsletter, and email.

Staff meetings, email list for staff, and an annotated list of new reference resources supplied each month.

We do not have a formal way to inform staff of important current events. We do discuss new materials that have been placed on the shelves, new Internet sites, which have been located and bookmarked into our computers, and new trends in questions. Because there are so few staff working, we are able to keep each other informed without too much trouble. We once decided to close the library once a month for a staff meeting but decided that this formal method was not as effective as the less formal one.

We try to have staff meetings plus use memos and email to reach all the staff with relevant information.

The library system sends out a monthly reference letter. We also have workshops that we have to attend. If all reference staff attended two a year, we qualify for reference help from headquarters.

Our staff are sent to regular training sessions sponsored by our regional library system.

The Decatur Public Library uses staff meetings, in-house email, memos and bulletin boards to distribute such information. Of course, other information is disseminated by such means as well, but I would say that all of those methods are used to some degree to distribute current-awareness information to reference staff.

We do not have formal current awareness processes. We communicate informally via email, letting each other know about new websites, databases, etc. All of us participate in collection development, so we keep pretty up to date on print materials. We also talk to each other informally at the reference desk about tools we are using. It is part of our service standards that reference staff communicate information to each other about resources, strategies, etc.

Log reference questions, keep lists of difficult questions or all-new questions. Wide scope answers and sources listed. Also keep materials at desk to inform and assist staff. Log bookmarks, note new bookmarks, and review the book-marked items themselves.

I don't. Since I am the only staff, it is pretty much up to me to do this on my own. I do feel it is very important to be as informed as possible, so I do spend a lot of time reading and trying to be as informed as possible.

This sort of thing is left up to the individual.

We route a lot of news bulletins and local community information so that we are always aware of local happenings and changes. Recently, I, the library director, have been reading an online summary of the news of the day, which I think is excellent. I'm going to ask my staff to subscribe. Interestingly enough, I had just hit upon the idea about six months ago of having each of our staff members survey and read up to five magazines searching for collection development ideas and readers awareness. One person might choose craft ideas and needleworking and then have Family Circle and Family Handyman and Sky and Telescope assigned. I used to do this when I worked in large libraries organized by department, but haven't done it in years.

We don't provide such a service per se. By word of mouth and in-house email, staff are alerted to current materials that are going to be asked for by patrons. Also, when working the reference desk, we become aware of assignments and pass the word on to the next librarian on duty.

Once a month there is a library board meeting.

We have regular staff meetings and alert staff members to current reference resources and issues. We also share materials from our State Library related to current awareness on library issues. We also subscribe to a listserv sponsored by the Montana Library Association that sometimes alerts librarians to current issues.

We have informal reference staff meetings on an irregular basis. We share websites and information that will help with student assignments by voice and email.

We meet informally as a group and pass on current questions or assignments or local interest issues, and we keep a folder/file at the reference desk to be reviewed by each incoming librarian each shift with current issues/questions and where to find the answer or call for information.

We have monthly and bi-monthly general and reference staff meetings, a bulletin board, and groupwise email. The last is probably the most widely used tool for the purposes of disseminating new reference information.

Not exactly, but the new reference books stay on carts at the desk for a couple of weeks for the librarians to review them. Also, reference librarians are encouraged to give more in depth introduction to the new reference books they find interesting at the reference staff meeting. Major upcoming local events are also mentioned at meetings and information about them is kept at a special box at the desk.

No current awareness service in-house, but Suburban Library System provides weekly and biweekly online newsletters.

Most of this is usually verbal, however, email is used heavily as well. Most of the stuff we confer on are related to sources particularly helpful with homework assignments we deal with here all the time.

We are apprised of new reference resources as they become part of the collection, either through memos or at librarian's meetings, or both. We also regularly have trial periods with new databases for us to experiment with. The same is true of very specific local resources, such as a few years ago when there was a real estate law assessment and the library had a few copies of the proposed changes put out by the company doing the reassessing so that patrons could come in and see their reassessing and see what their particular property's tax would be and if they wished to challenge it.

Staff meetings, library newsletters, and an email system that circulates important news and online services to use.

We have a system listserv, via email, where we can share ideas or ask questions. Very helpful for our thirty-six library, two county system.

We use memos and email to notify each other of important reference items.

Issues that we wish all reference staff to be aware of are communicated via voice or email. If there is an item of high demand (e.g. lyrics to song sung at Lady Di's funeral), it is placed in a hot topics box kept at the information services desk. Voice or email communicates notice of what is added to the box.

Certain articles are routed to us.

We keep a daily local paper at the reference desk to read during slow periods. Also, there are library newsletters and clippings in the staff lounge, but these deal more with professional topics and issues then with national news. Sometimes the library director will route a copy of an article/editorial from a newspaper op-ed page on a controversy that affects libraries, such as the use of Internet filters at a neighboring library.

We talk about current events among the staff. Since most of the staff is part-time it is hard to have staff meetings. Only a few come. The library system tries to keep staff apprised of events and how to handle reference questions. We do send those onto staff members.

Memos are used.

Staff meetings every few months, email about reference tools, websites, and local current topics, as well as information sources to same.

We are involved in a Provincial Virtual Reference Service and often read the questions to other libraries' information requests.

I wish they would.

No, our library does not formally do that, but all the staff do share this exact type of information with each other through email, meetings, and informal conversations.

The library does not formally provide this, but sometimes staff members email or print out information on new sites and sources for each other.

We started putting together a reference notebook that includes information we regularly need, all in one place. For example, some patrons ask about the Houston Public Library, so I put a map of all the branches of the library system, plus all the addresses and phone numbers. We also put election information in the notebook and passwords we need for the computers.

Yes, we circulate all professional magazines and journals, The New York Times Book Review, publisher's catalogs, etc.

When pertinent information arrives in the mail, it is circulated to the reference staff. We do not have the staff to attend classes.

Our library uses staff meetings, emails, listservs, a staff journal, bulletins, postings, newsletters, etc.

No, we're not big enough to have staff to produce newsletters, etc. I talk with individual staff as the need arises. For example, if I know people might be asking for information x, I'll warn my staff and give them an idea of what sort of information we can provide.

We have regular reference meetings. We keep a log at the reference desk to record ongoing issues. We also use email. All new reference books are kept in a back office area for staff to review before putting them out for the public. We have on one occasion created a web site on the elections to help us answer questions.

I work at a small branch of the Washington State Library. The state library does produce a bibliography (print and online) of new books it's purchased in the area of public administration that goes to library staff as well as to library patrons. WSL also send out an email list of new books in librarianship to library staff.

Librarians send messages to the group through a Reference Group email. We also leave memos on the reference desk, as well as copies of articles. We have bi-monthly department head meetings to share information, weekly newsletters from the library system, and our own bi-monthly newsletters.

Yes, we have emails and staff meetings that keep us up-to-date.

We all alert one another to multiple inquiries on individual subjects. We cringe when some instructor assumes all 50 (or 120) of his/her students can obtain a given title by going to the library in the next ten minutes. We, of course, are supposed to have the requisite number whether it is 1 or 200, even though, naturally, we have but one. Teachers have given up counting for the past several generations, or else they believe in testing everyone's frustration quotient. It's on-going. Fortunately, staff members alert each other and we are able to satisfy other class members when they come in.

Yes, staff meetings, email, and bulletin board.

We are very proactive about library issues, e.g. filtering legislation or county library service. We have weekly announcements and will produce articles and will reproduce articles of interest for those or for our staff meetings. I keep my professional journals available for my staff at the desk.

We're too busy answering questions to take time to anticipate future ones. We often consult each other when patrons say they saw a news story on TV.

No. Our regional library does email or provides inservice training when necessary.

There are periodic in-services provided to staff members concerning a variety of jobs the staff does. We do not have a reference a reference librarian.

Yes, staff meetings.

We have regular reference staff meetings where we discuss current reference questions and needs. I also attend meetings quarterly at our Library Cooperative system, where new reference sources are always on the agenda. Reference staff also read library periodicals where reference is discussed.

Yes, staff meetings, bulletin boards, and email.

Our reference lead circulates information about new reference books and new editions of old reference books. She also frequently addresses our staff meetings, talking about a particular source that has arrived. There are occasional library-wide staff meetings where we share information that might be preparatory for reference services, and there is an annual South Bay system forum at which reference sources are shared and reviewed.

Ongoing lists of new publications.

Staff meetings every two months.

We use email, staff meetings, and memos to keep staff current.

We don't have a formal system. Staff inform each other via email when specific repeat requests have come in and what materials, answers, etc. meet those requests. New additions to our homepage usually are announced in the same way, along with reasons for adding them. We have weekly gatherings of available reference staff at our central library where current information is shared but usually it is of a problem-solving nature rather than developments in current events.

We frequently use in-house email to notify staff of reference books that are new to the library or about reference books or websites which may be useful for identified current classroom assignments. We normally have no mechanisms for informing staff of information on topics in advance of specific reference inquiries.

We have staff meetings, and the director will issue memos, but usually they deal with minor library issues. We also receive minutes from library board meetings. The library does subscribe to certain to certain journals that get passed around: Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, American Libraries, Booklist, Video Librarian, and Yahoo! Internet Life.

We do not have a current awareness service. We occasionally tell each other of events via word of mouth.

The library permits me to take home the newspapers I read after they are a week old. I read them at home. This is with the exception of the St. Petersburg Times, which is the local paper to which I personally subscribe. Other than that, the reference librarians just talk amongst themselves about the current news, as it seems appropriate to our particular patrons, community issues, etc.

Not formally. In staff meetings, we do discuss topics or homework questions that have recently been frequent and we discuss where we have found resources. We sometimes leave alerts on the reference log.

Communication is a key foundation of any successful organization. In-house staff meetings, workshops, training sessions and newsletters helps to keep staff informed but more can be done.

Not as such. I do try to alert my staff as to any new resources, e.g., websites, which might prove useful.

We have staff meetings, staff days where we learn about new databases. I go to a reference special interest group meeting every couple of months where librarians from around the county pool information and we have vendors come in to either demonstrate databases we already have access to or ones that we might be interested in getting. We have memos and newsletters at the circulation desk to try to keep staff members up to date on what's happening in the city and community.

We are not a large enough library to use this kind of formal system. We share information among ourselves informally. As reference librarian I try to keep the other two librarians informed of current needs especially if I am going to be away for an extended time. On the other hand, it's very difficult for us to anticipate most of the questions we get anyway. We're a resort community with many transient and seasonal residents, short-term visitors and vacationers, as well as the permanent local community. From this kind of constituency, the range of possible questions can be great as in a big city library.

We've had an awareness staff meeting about the state's many attempts to abolish the property tax which would directly affect our jobs. We also make note of queries to each other through email and by leaving messages at the reference desk.

Yes, the city has staff newsletters and sends out regular notices over email regarding city and management news.

No, I have tried to initiate it but have gotten no cooperation from the director or other staff members. The director will not allow us to meet as a group. She just wants an email sent to everyone.

On occasion the subject specialist will alert staff either at a meeting or through email of a new or updated reference source. On a monthly basis, the subject specialist will review important reference sources within their collection areas to help other staff with more specialized questions. Also, if we are doing a trial of a print version's electronic counterpart, this is alerted to staff.

Our reference department has monthly staff meetings pertaining to issues that arise in the reference department and the library system. Otherwise, the city sends out monthly newsletters and email news bulletins regarding information.

Word of mouth is our only current awareness service.

When something interesting is found it should be clipped or printed and put in the memo binder.

We use a newsletter, memos, and periodical routing.

The professional staff and others will often mail or leave a note on the desk regarding new information. Print folders are prepared with new information. The main library with its large staff of professional librarians will issue information bulletins on email, in public folders on the Internet, and in printed bulletins for all smaller libraries.

One of our staff is a news hound and very interested in current affairs, especially politics and occasionally formally in a staff meeting or by email or notice on the reference desk. The system public relations division often provides items with communications strategies should there be public questions. Items are also posted on our web site for staff.

Just a special place on the reference desk where articles are kept or other things of interest.

We have staff meetings, have an in-house weekly news publication, and emails that are specific to certain groups and also global to all staff. We also have a bulletin board in each building.

We use email to announce newly acquired databases, especially ones that may require some training to learn to handle. However, we do not have a way of disseminating current event issues to the reference staff.

Nothing as organized as this. Staff who work reference are required to examine new books as they come in. They are also responsible for regularly changing marketing displays reflecting current events and seasonal interests. Useful newspaper articles are clipped and brought to staff's attention. We regularly bookmark sites on the Internet.

We always have training for new systems being implicated to the system. We have adult and youth services meetings once or twice a month for everyone in the system to come together to discuss new ideas. We have branch manager meetings monthly, regular staff meetings, and we receive memos via email on a regular basis. Our system works diligently on providing updates for all staff members.

We don't have an official procedure or policy for current awareness, but the staff is very good about keeping each other aware of things. We have ten branches, and if someone finds a particularly newsworthy or helpful item, they will fax the information out to the other branches.

Yes. There are numerous pieces of information, newsletters, professional journals, internal procedural memos, etc. that are routed daily. Our department head attends staff meetings and then holds one for department staff to pass on in detail what was discussed. We have a department bulletin board where messages are also posted. There is also an internal email system, which is also used to pass on general information to all staff.

We have staff meetings where new reference sources are pointed out and discussed. May include newly acquired reference work or a newly discovered website apropos to potential patron informational needs.

Our library system has a listbot for reference librarians and others who are interested. We also have staff and departmental meetings.

We have meetings and use email.

We hold staff meetings twice a month where we can discuss issues if needed. We have a common bulletin board for posting information we all need to know. We have scheduled regular reviews of sources.

We receive all sorts of training, have emails and faxes to keep us updated and current.

Yes. In-service meetings, and e-mail memos. New resources that support new community discussions, such as a waste dumpsite, are reviewed and staff are taught how to guide patrons to those resources.

Weekly staff meetings, lots of memos, and email.

We do have staff meetings weekly, but they are more to cover day-to-day operations than reference techniques. One very useful resource has been http://www.refdesk.com/. I haven't used many but I love the potential.

Monthly department heads meetings, followed by monthly Information Services department meetings, at which I can make staff aware of anything going on. Word of mouth or handwritten notes to keep other staff in the department informed. This is a medium-sized library, with only 5 people in the Information Services Dept., so it is not difficult to keep in touch.

Only when it comes to technology, especially the Internet. Staff clip or copy interesting articles that they come across.

As stated in one of the previous answers, we have an electronic (web-based) message board where we post a variety of messages. If there is something in the news that we need to know anyone of our staff has access to post.

No, we are a brand new library and are working on this.

Not really. Our state library system sometimes sends out alerts about possible demand for a particular government report that, the public may come in to ask about.

Our regional library system provides ongoing training and awareness sessions on reference, Internet, etc.

We do belong to a list-serve with our Library Cooperative. We get Email about things of interest to all of us small libraries.

We have several ways to communicate on current developments. We have a notebook at the reference desk which we leave messages for other reference staff members. We list the information, date the note and then initial it. We also send e-mail messages. This has taken the place of memos. All staff members are required to check their e-mail each working day. We are using this method more and more.

No, but it's a very good idea.

We put new Reference volumes out at our reference desk for a few days before shelving them in the collection. We email within the department. We have regular department meetings where we share a wide variety of information. We have a department wipe off board (mostly used to alert ref staff to class visits etc. rather than specific assignments).

We have a staff meeting where we discuss class library assignments and have a bulletin board. Full time staff members can email if they find something relevant. I participate in a list-serve with Alabama Public Library Service and one with the Alabama Virtual Library. These frequently post items useful in reference questions.

In my library, I am the reference staff, so if my director wants me to know about a new development she will usually let me know via a memo or she will put an article in my box and mark it with FYI.

We have a bulletin board beside a door that all of us pass by several times a day. Important memos are posted there.

We don't have a formal method but we are careful to pass along news that we may need at a later date. We bring in clippings from local papers or route magazines with notes to note a specific article or page. We share current awareness web sites.

We have regular staff meetings and newsletters, however the newsletters are not in-house, they are for the general public. We also provide several public bulletin boards for community related information. We also use fliers to promote library events and public events.

Our library holds an occasional workshop on how to use medical online services more easily, use of word processing, just plain updating reference skills. We also receive memos/e-mail. We are open to most ways to update our skills.

Nothing comes to mind in this area.

We have weekly staff meetings, monthly reference meetings and an online web site for staff only. We have many email alerts of any new development in the library or in the community that will be important to library customers. Sometimes we take time at reference meetings to point out sources we have found useful.

Generally one or two other people and I receive printed materials about new and current reference resources. We also attend appropriate workshops, especially at our regional library center.

Not really, if I understand the question, but we do route Library Journal and American Libraries around among some of the staff.

The librarians here make note of topics of special local interest (such as choice for utility services, political issues, etc.). When we find articles or web sites that deal with them, we create folders for the Reference Drawer. We then email each other and tell that it is there. This is done very informally.

This if for local or in house information only: e-mail, newsletter, memos (as needed, but they come rarely), bulletin boards in the staff room, also department meetings.

The reference staff holds regular meetings.

We really do not have a current awareness service. It is up to the individual to keep informed.

We have monthly reference meetings. I am on listservs and forward those to staff via email. There are various newsletters from other libraries that are also routed to staff.

No. We don't. We do try to keep staff up to date on library issues but not current events. The staff all seems to keep up on their own.

No. We have a rural librarians meeting every third month and discuss current issues affecting the libraries in the county but not for the purpose of information to the public.

None currently but would be useful.

We are full of monthly staff meetings, printed newsletters, memos, bulletin boards and daily emails.

Yes. The system's central Ref. Dept. sends out lists of recommended reference materials in a chosen subject.

Yes, there are staff meetings and bulletin boards.

No current news awareness except for seminars detailing new Internet sites.

No, we do not have a method of providing on-going current awareness services. Who has the time? It's very busy at the reference desk.

No real organized service though I suppose what I do in routing local town newsletters and local club newsletters is equal to a sort of current awareness service.

No. We do encourage everyone with a computer at their desk, to keep it on iwon, CNN, or some other news web site.

Our Library System does provide training for the reference staff employed by the system.

No, we do not officially provide that service for staff. Staff knows the necessity of keeping up with information and find time either at work during slow periods, or at home to do so.

We make use of staff meetings, memos and email. We post notes where we track reference activity. We alert one another to repeated questions, class assignments, important municipal news and events, and particularly useful sources, including web sites, and unusual ways to make use of well-known sources.

We are members of a consortium (SEMLS), a division of the state library system. This group provides us with a newsletter and listserv, which provide some reference awareness. Also our network has a similar service on-line as well as a newsletter. As I am the only reference person in the library, I must find this information and belong to other listservs on my own.

I maintain a reference log at the reference desk containing local bulletin information; new bookmarks on the Reference computer; class assignments; regional library newsletters; and photocopied reference articles from library literature. Every reference staff member at the beginning of the shift reads and initials it.

We do not have a formal process of doing this though personal conversations while on a break or sometimes individuals will post a clipping on a bulletin board in the staff room. I may have to give some thought to implementing such a program here though.

Yes, a reference meeting once a month.

We have: monthly reference meetings, e-mail, a notebook at the Information Desk to write notes to each, other or questions, material is circulated to each staff member, belong to electronic lists.

No, we do not. I primarily function as that service to our staff. Although our library service region has great professional development that is open to all professional and non-professional staff and free, to keep up on these kinds of issues. I always share what I know with staff.

Not exactly, but there is a committee of librarians who look at sites on the Web and alert the remainder of the staff about useful sites. This is sometimes done by e-mail and more formally printed and distributed each month.

Our regional system offers reference workshops periodically. We take turns attending these programs. They tend to be very helpful on alerting us to new and more current materials than we have.

Yes. Regional library system newsletters and other professional magazines and newsletters and regular staff meetings, plus meetings with other library people in our network and in our region.

No. During days when things are going on, I let them keep the TV on to listen to; also for patrons to listen too but only during important events such as last night's elections, local elections, emergency situations (Oklahoma Bombing), jet crashes, severe weather, etc.

We have a weekly staff meeting. I have just begun a weekly news page.

We have a "current reference folder" at the desk; we also have regular staff meetings so that all employees are informed of recent developments.

We have nothing that formal but we do have at the reference desk a means of notifying each other when someone finds something they think will be an issue or some up soon. Often it is an article from a paper or a print out from a web site. It is attached to a memo and put in a basket where each person checks off that they have read it. Sometimes we also share information of the same manner by e-mail.

Yes, through staff meetings and memos.

The core reference staff meets once a month to discuss new materials, including web sites that are especially helpful, school assignments, etc.

Local newsletter discusses reference topics every month. Staff meetings generally cover electronic reference.

We have a staff bulletin board, public bulletin board with upcoming community programs and services, and the department heads meet monthly to discuss library issues.

We have a staff Internet site that provides some information. We also have a monthly newsletter that goes out to all staff. In addition, we have some in-house training that is offered on a semi-regular basis. We have an in house staff training day once per year in which all libraries are closed and all staff meet at the headquarters library. Each department (reference, extension, circulation, children's, etc) also has monthly staff meetings.

I did this for many of my business clients when I was an Information Broker. We don't do it here, however. Our library is too small. Instead we each have "niches" we seem to naturally gravitate toward (leaving me usually with the old things, like archaeology and fossils and literature", and the odd, like British architectural follies and plant identification). In addition, we are all tap-able for other ideas that would work, especially if we feel fuzzy on a solution. We all are informed about mass school assignments as they are issued (via teacher advance-warning or student mobbing us), sharing as soon as any one of us knows about it with the others, as well as sharing what seemed to work best.

Yes. This is not systematic, but selective through emails and staff meetings. If we are not selective, staff gets "overloaded" with such messages and expresses resentment at being over-saturated with such communiqués.

One device I have used to give heads up to Pend Oreille and other library colleagues has been facilitated dramatically by email and the Web. I routinely bookmark web sites or distribute copies of news articles - both public and professional content - to all or selected reference staff; the emails tell why I think the site is important and where in the substantial, cross-ref d bookmark file they can find it again.

We often email each other or leave notes "warning" each other of hot topics so that we can be prepared to quickly lay our hands on the appropriate information. If I located a web site or other source that is particularly timely or helpful I will often print out the homepage and post it on our department bulletin board. I've received positive responses from other staff members for doing this.

No, we don't have anything like that other than an informal system where we email our colleagues if there is something we feel is important. I think it is a very good idea though.

We have a countywide email, where county departments alert everyone to anything of significance, whether it is a wreck on the highway or where to find information on a law.

We don't have a service that keeps staff up to date on current events. We do have professional library periodicals all professional staff members are required to read. Any time a new resource becomes available we receive a notice in our mailbox or via email. New books are placed in a specified area for us to peruse before they are added to the shelves.

We have monthly department head meetings in which we share information that we may have picked up by answering reference questions, or noticed while we were searching the web, or discovered while we were reading a newspaper, magazine, etc.

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