The following are answers to the question: has tv/radio helped you to answer reference queries? Reference librarians at North American public and academic libraries were asked to answer this question as part of a study of librarian reading habits.
I cannot think of a concrete example.
I can't think of an example of news shows helping me with reference questions. That is not to say it doesn't help. I'm just not sure if I get the most useful information from print or broadcast sources.
I don't listen or watch frequently enough for there to be a connection. I think that watching television would help, but I don't like it so I don't watch it. Our patrons request things they hear about on the TV, but I can't answer them.
All the time people ask for books that they have heard discussed on NPR and often I have heard the same review and can find the title. Every day, helping high school students with their assignments makes me glad I know the news. It definitely helps me in collection development.
In a previous position, I saw a new trend of hospital management discussed on CNN. I was able to call the network, and contact them for the management team of the hospital where I managed the library.
The most recent example of watching current affairs news has been with the US Presidential election. I watched election returns on MSNBC and then followed the story. We have been getting daily inquiries as to how the situation is changing, and watching the news has allowed me to stay informed. I am able to name the principles involved and where the voting recount currently stands.
The most recent questions I answered were due to an ad I heard on the local radio about Trick or Treat Street and where it could be found.
Geographic information, especially in the changing Eastern Europe area has been useful when patrons inquire.
Heard a program on NPR about a Texas shooting and a special anniversary of it. Several days later a question about the incident came up and I was able to access information from a Gale decade publication.
A patron wanted to request a book that was received on NPR but couldn't remember the title and I was able to recall it.
Again no details on specifics. I usually have a pen and paper beside me because I know people will ask, especially when authors have been interviewed.
A patron couldn't remember what the next title in the LaHaye's series is. I remembered the book through Larry King Live's interview with the author.
Recently I had a question about Advil. I had seen this product advertised on American television commercials so I was aware of it and recognized the name. The question posed by my patron was: Is Advil available in Canada? Checking the Internet, Advil did in fact appear on several sites. I didn't have to go through the verification process so often necessary when one is not familiar with certain aspects of reference questions.
Difficult to answer. Watching the news event of last night does not automatically assist me in the morning. Like so much, the news becomes part of the collective in the brain and yes, many times over the weeks it was great to recall what I saw or heard so that I can develop the answer a patron needs.
Often new books by authors are discussed on morning talk shows, so I know what people will be asking for next.
The election has been a very hot topic. People came in and asked if we know what the latest count was or what the new developments were. I knew because I heard it on the radio.
But a lot of these programs on public radio have book reviews. I can then make better decisions when purchasing materials.
Many times patrons will see/hear a news article and only catch part of it or do not know which show they saw it on. They want to find out more about it or maybe contact the network about a transcript. I am able to say that I had seen the show in question and look up the information for them. Also, if a patron has a general request about a topic I can say that there was a newsclip/program about the topic.
During this election process, we have had numerous calls about the election, candidates, etc.
An exchange student having relatives in Kosovo recently asked about a bombing of a specific city. The staff person had remembered it from a newscast and found it also in the newspaper.
One Tulsa TV station issued a statement about a recall for dip-tubes in water heaters, which needed to be replaced. We were able to find complete details from their website because I heard it on the news.
Helps me answer questions on book reviews, the election, and biographies.
Paying attention to everything around you helps with reference.
Yes, it has helped with current book reviews, music reviews, book awards, and other prizes.
I watched a Firing Line program about Russian chemical and biological weapon development and disasters. A patron who had also watched the show came in later in the week and wanted to know who the head of the Russian Biological Weapons program who was interviewed on the show was. I remembered then, not now.
People like to request books that are popular in the media. For example, Oprah's picks are pretty popular, so if I watch when she announces a new book, we can anticipate the rush or answer questions about which book it is, the plot, etc. We can update our list of her titles, too. Also, as far as NPR, when authors are interviewed, it gives me more of their background, helping pass that along to patrons. I am better equipped to answer book-related questions.
Several times recently I've been able to identify a particular title for a patron because I heard an interview or review on the radio.
The only example I can think of pertains to registering to vote in the upcoming election. I had heard on the news when the deadline was to register. I was asked that very question the same day.
A person was looking for information on Philadelphia houses collapsing and I had heard a report about it on NPR.
I know this has happened many times, but I can't think of any specific examples at the moment. There have been instances such as breaking local news stories or local stories that became national, where I am sure information gained from television and radio was used at the reference desk in one way or another.
I have often had the situation of a patron asking about a book referred to on NPR and having heard the show, I can find the answer more rapidly.
I listened to CNN news and knew what the candidates stood for in the recent national election.
By listening to current affairs, I know where to look for reference answers, especially those involving foreign countries.
I know it has but I can't think of specifics. More than specific questions, it has helped me with collection development. Hearing about mutant frogs, Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, etc., has helped me with purchasing decisions.
I have answered questions on sports, medicine, genealogy and politics by using news sources. Also, I have called TV and radio stations for answers.
Most of our questions are not concerning current events.
We have had questions about local government and Indian tribal issues as well as state library-related issues where being current with regional news has been helpful. If you are asking only about national news, then the TV programs were helpful with election questions and the library filtering issue as it has been considered by the US Congress.
I can't think of titles or authors, but several times a year I've answered questions about book titles that have been mentioned on NPR or about people who have been interviewed.
Once a patron was looking for a book written by a woman author interviewed on Fresh Air, but she couldn't remember the author or the title. After hearing her description of the interview, I remembered the name of the author and found the book in our catalog.
It's just serendipity: a person may ask a question that reminds you of something you heard.
I heard an interview about telecommuting on NPR and that information was helpful in providing me with some search terms when answering a reference question I encountered.
When people refer to segments on news shows that they would like more information on. It helps to have some idea about what they are referring to.
One example would be the ability to recall the name of an author whom I had heard interviewed and the title of the work. Sometimes I will check the radio station website on days following an interview so as to confirm spellings.
Often they interview someone on the radio and a patron will come in and ask for information on that person or subject. Particularly the Radio Reader Books.
I am much better able to provide reference service. I have answered many questions that make use of my knowledge of which books people may be asking for; awareness of popular musicians, artists, writers, and actors; and current political issues.
People ask about how candidates appearing on TV during debates and I have given a personal opinion/reaction. I watch our own city council meetings regularly and have answered many questions about issues I've seen. People come to me for local hot button issues.
A patron was looking for a specific book about the Clinton presidency that had been mentioned on a TV show on C-Span.
I was aware of specific issues facing the school board.
They are numerous. Anything from "Who won the World Series?" to "Who is our new president?" One learns what patrons are going to ask from knowing what is going on. For example, we all know that at this time we will have questions about how the Electoral College works or how many electoral votes individual states have, as well as where the polling places are. From hearing the news we know someone will ask "where is Bosnia?" or some such. I don't believe one can have too much knowledge. It is all useful sooner or later.
Yes, it helps me almost daily. Larry King was on the Today Show promoting his latest book. A patron called asking for the title.
Just listening recently to election happenings and results has helped answer the simple question of who won a particular position. It also allows me to give an information unbiased answer. I found that interjecting opinions in a library atmosphere is not usually a good thing and sometimes can be detrimental. Facts are what people need and look for.
The more you know, the better. I'm not sure, however, that the little news I take away from a broadcast is really very useful to understanding any given issue or situation. So, is it worth my time? No, it's just an amusement.
We don't have a lot of reference questions regarding this, but a lot of small talk that I can take part in with our patrons.
I do not believe my lack of doing so has had any negative impact on my ability to provide reference services. In a public library in a semi-rural county, we don't seem to get those questions, or whatever comes my way I can find the answer, in any case.
In our society, we get news from every angle. I read the newspaper headlines, watch the nightly news, read a magazine or two a week and look at online news sources multiple times throughout the day. I often forget which source it was that I gleaned the information. Often it appears in multiple sources. So I have a hard time coming up with specific examples of when one specific source helped me answer a query.
When the Alaska airline jet went down off California, I got the web site for the passenger list from television news. I posted that web site at work, so please could access it if they wanted to. Most of the time when I use online, print, TV and radio information for reference, I usually come upon information and make a note of it (usually mental) in the event someone asks. Or I present the information I find out about before I'm asked for it, like with the Alaska airline list.
This often comes up with interviews on NPR with authors. Specifically, a woman had heard a new report about some new medical treatment but was vague. I had heard the story myself and could fill in the blanks.
Yes, election results, weather problems, and breaking stories.
I can't remember specific examples, but NPR sometimes has features on music, and then patrons come in and ask for further information. It helps to know what inspired them to ask the question.
People often inquire regarding the monthly CPI or the unemployment stats. I'm aware of a.) When they come out, and b.) What they are, in general. Being aware of that, I can usually obtain an authoritative print version to satisfy the need.
We look for information on news stories that appeared on TV almost daily. When authors appear on the Today Show, it's a sure bet that we'll get called to see if we have whatever book they're pushing. Sensational murders are frequent topics on the news shows, and we have several patrons who are fascinated with true crime. They never seem to remember the exact details, so it's important to find someone on staff who may have seen the show.
Having heard a panel discussion on NPR on the current upheaval in Israel, I recognized the author of a recent book on our new book shelf and could recommend it to a patron who was looking for the point of view that the author had voiced when on the air.
Helps in a general way and then perhaps minimally. Most reference questions for us are still book-based and web-based.
We often get listeners to NPR who want further specifics on a topic or artist or work that was reported on their radio programs. I had a question just the other day about a walking tour of darkest Africa that was featured on NPR. Without having heard about this in advance, I wouldn't have had much of a clue about what it was or where to find more information about it.
Yes, in the sense that the public hears the same things we do and often come in after hearing a story wanting more information. It's always helpful if we already are familiar with the story also.
When a patron can't remember a specific name or title or often author interviews. I often remember what they're talking about and help them to find it. Specifically, Oprah's latest book. That comes up nearly every week.
We have purchased books featured on NPR and then had people request those titles and/or authors.
NPR news has helped me on a daily basis in reference and collection development.
I cannot think of a specific example, but just being generally well informed is crucial to reference work.
I was able to help a patron find a book about job hunting that she had heard about on NPR, even though she had heard about on NPR, even though she had the title completely wrong, because I heard the same broadcast.
New books titles, major world events, such as the space program, elections, and war. If I have heard about it in advance of the question, I can more readily find the answer in print or online.
Often patrons come in with questions about a program they heard or saw. More often than not, it is an author that was pushing his newest publication. The popular authors are easy to find, but we do not carry many books discussed on NPR. Trying to find them is very challenging unless it is a program that I've listened to.
I often get requests for biographical information concerning political officials and watching CNN, especially, helps to keep me up to date.
I was able to answer a question about the Electoral College after listening to an expert on constitutional law talking about the presidential quandary.
Constantly being aware of local news. When all else fails calling the radio station to get more information on the piece they ran.
We often get reference questions re CBC radio programs.
I am unable to think of any concrete answers. Although I must go back to the familiarization of subjects that help provide direction to answer specific inquiries.
Because of the newscast regarding the death of Trudeau. I could answer a question regarding the origin of the last lines of Justin's Trudeau eulogy. The patron wanted to know where he got the lines and if he had quoted Frost directly or paraphrased.
Well, just being aware of the Canadian election and issues has helped me to aid students with their homework assignments.
I had a patron who wanted a book reviewed on a CBC program who couldn't remember either the author or title, but I had heard the same broadcast and was able to find it for her.
It really is a whole process/part of one's awareness that patrons expect of librarians.
Yes, I knew the number of votes cast in the national election.
I have heard reviews about books on NPR. We have ordered books for the library based on these reviews. Patrons listen to these programs and come in looking for the books. For example, we have ordered recent biographies on George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Ralph Nadar based on these reviews.
National news broadcasts do not help very much. Local TV is much more helpful. Our area had a very controversial murder investigation going on, and I had a newspaper reporter from Chicago call up looking for a specific item of information for an article that she was writing. My knowledge of the case did not enable me to answer the specific question, but it gave me enough background information that I could understand what aspect of the case the reporter was inquiring about.
As far as television goes, PBS aired a special on the Rockefellers one evening and two days later a gentleman came in wanting to find the Rockefeller's family tree. I was able to trace it with ease after viewing the show. As far as radio goes, when Kit, the newest American doll came out, Warm 98 did a small piece on the background of Kit Ketteridge for whom the doll is named. As the day went on I found the website for Kit after I was asked to provide a picture of the doll and biographical information on her.
I once had a question about a home in Canada for girls with anorexia and remembered that a couple of years before that I had seen a show on 20/20 about that very home. I looked up the show on 20/20's website and found the information for the patron (even after two years).
Yes, it has helped. There were several questions last week pertaining to the presidential elections, and I knew the answers.
I have seen authors profiled, and I have been able to decipher the titles that patrons have misconstrued at the reference desk.
Once in a while an out of town patron will ask a question which has an answer that is based on our awareness of local news, such as what is the cause of red tide?
Yes, usually it is a patron who has vague details about a story and my own knowledge helps pinpoint the article.
NPR has really helped me with my work. Whatever I miss from avoiding other media sources I catch from NPR. They have great reviews and interviews with authors, as well.
It gives me information on new products to use for health. Some of this has been passed onto my patrons.
I think the most recent example is the election. We've been verifying a lot of information given out on the Electoral College.
Yes. Patron asked about a controversial drug therapy that had been the topic of a 60 Minutes program. Being familiar with the program, I was able to provide her with transcript of the show and links to other information resources.
Can't think of a specific one, but I'm sure it has happened.
Nothing that I can think of. Questions do come about a subject, e.g. the Napoleon series recently on PBS.
I can't think of any specific examples. I'd say it is more likely that what I read in print or online is useful to answer reference questions than what I see on TV or hear on the radio. It is more likely that I get useful information from the radio (NPR) than from TV.
Sorry, no concrete example leaps to mind. I find that the majority of information I get on line. To use sports as an example (again), I find that by the time it's in print, the info is already out-of- date. In general, I prefer essays and more thought-provoking works in print, and quick facts on-line.
I have used the radio to assist with new book inquiries and late breaking economic and political stories. For example, I was able to find information on the Seagram purchase to a patron because I had heard the details of the purchase on the radio.
Sorry, I can't think of anything specific, although Quirks & Quarks features on topics such as AIDS, Cancer, and Genetic Engineering have been helpful for general knowledge of these topics that are frequently asked for.
As the radio is immediate, I can anticipate potential questions. Having heard the Nobel Prize for Literature announced I was able to gather material for a book display.
Quite honestly, I don't think that watching/listening to U.S. or Canadian TV/radio has directly help in my role as an information provider.
Many times over the years I have watched or listened to interviews with authors of fiction or non-fiction books, and was later asked about either the author or the topic. Having heard the interview helped me to answer the reference question. In a broader sense, listening to or watching discussions of issues (e.g. on the topic of biotechnology/genetic engineering) helps me to understand the different points of view on issues and to provide balanced information when I receive a reference request on the topic.
Yes, broad knowledge of trends and happenings help to at least know what our world is doing and hopefully help with research.
People have asked about a specific new drug they have seen, talked about on TV. We have shown them our PDR and also web sites they might visit to find out more information about this drug.
I had a student come to the library wanting help finding a "wacky law" - anything on the books that was ridiculous and outdated. I remember hearing on the radio the disc jockey talking about dumb ordinances. I called the radio station to ask where they came up with them. He told me of a web site called dumblaws.com. It was just what my patron was looking for.
Many people in our area listen to NPR. Many times people will want a book that has been mentioned on NPR, but they can't remember the title, so listening to NPR allows to me fulfill book requests more easily.
I had a person asking for information on a new medical procedure. We were not able to find any information in our typical sources. I had heard a segment on the Todd Mundt Show on NPR, which sounded similar to what the person wanted. I went to the on-air schedule on the Mundt show, was able to find the person speaking on the procedure. Our patron did not have the right name of the procedure. With the corrected name, I was able to find the medical information the patron wanted.
Sometimes listening to radio can help me understand the patron question better because I can hear where they got their own information even if they don't tell me.
Yes I have, although at this time I cannot come up with a specific example.
This happens pretty regularly. Often patrons will ask for more information on topics they have heard about or seen on television. The last one I helped a patron on was locating information on and spread of germs and bacteria because of the reuse of water at dental offices. I remembered a news program or expose (20/20 or 48 Hours?) that I had seen late summer and recalled the term "closed water systems" being used. That got me to the information that the patron wanted more quickly than I would probably have gotten to it with the terms the patrons used.
One thing I remember off the top of my head answering from a radio show was a few years ago kids were sent in with a hoax reference question that circulates periodically, "There are three words in the English language that end in "gry". One is "angry" and the other is "hungry." What is the third word? The radio assured me was a trick question. (The answer is "Three.")
I cannot recall in detail any radio or TV show that has helped me answer a specific question, but I do know that there have been times in general when I have been glad to have caught a spot on TV or the radio so I have been "up to speed" as to what has been going on.
The last question was on the election. TV helped me to explain what was going on.
"Remote sensing" from the Art Bell Show, books by Tex Marrs from this show also.
I referred a student to PBS for information on Napoleon recently when he needed to do a report. That was not on a news program, of course, but I think it was advertised before or after one.
Quite honestly I have not had many questions that would relate directly to radio or newspaper reference query. We do not serve a sophisticated public. In general, we seem to have more practical questions coming to the ref desk.
I know it has helped me stay informed of recent award winners and international events but I can't think of a specific example.
The question related to whether the presidential situation in Yugoslavia was resolved. I was able to answer simply from having heard such information on TV.
Oh, just very recently, I watched on TV (either Dateline or 20/20) a segment of the Allstate Insurance company coming under fire for telling accident victims unsound legal advice, getting them to sign settlements that saved the company money. A few days later, a lady came in and said that a car had hit her and the driver's insurance company told her to sign this settlement and that she did not need a lawyer. I mentioned the segment and she was going to check with a lawyer anyway.
Nothing specific except you know what is happening in the world so when a patron asks a question you have an idea what is going on around you in the world.
It can be useful in identifying authors of certain books. Lots of people watch Oprah, therefore, if you tune into that show occasionally it can be helpful in identifying certain authors discussed.
60 Minutes is useful for odd questions but mostly that is just interesting. The news talk radio is more useful because I get a bit of info about a lot of issues and they sometimes come up for reference use. This probably isn't what you meant but I've had people come in with consumer questions and while I show them books to assist, I was also able to direct them to consumer advocates on local radio and TV shows as well as one major newspaper for additional help. Not only do I read them and hear them on the air but also I called one and can attest to the usefulness of their services. Also these all help when new legislation is pending. Now that I think about it that is a major area that I use the info for.
News? Not even when I was listening to NPR did a situation come up where the info was more than just after dinner conversation.
I can't think of a specific instance. It is very much a part of what librarians do to be knowledgeable about what is going on so it is second nature to be aware of national and world events in tracking down answers to questions.
Usually, patrons do not ask about current events.
I was able to tell a patron when the next Harry Potter book will be published after I saw the author on TV.
After one of the rare times I watched 20/20 or Dateline, people came in looking for books about the subject on the show.
Yes, when viewers of Dr. Laura nailed me after her Lewd Libraries aired. Also, when asked about big local events like art gallery's fall art show.
Patrons call all the time and want the book that is on the Oprah Show.
It has been positive in helping to answer reference queries. I can't give any specifics other than that a patron has listened to the same program and wants that book or more information and staff knows what they've heard or seen, etc.
A student was researching new developments of gene theory for a school report, and having just heard a radio piece on this topic made my reference interview easier, faster and more helpful.
I generally cannot cite specific questions. New programs provide me with background to make sense of current events questions. Many of our readers also listen to NPR and having heard the same reviews and features they have heard assists me in ordering and answering questions.
Simply being aware of an issue, person, item etc. can be useful in recognizing a topic patron may inquire about. No specifics to offer right now.
These questions vary considerably, from background of highlighted officials in the news, to authors' histories, to where is...? type questions. Everything I know, or have heard about is always one more link in the web of resolving a search.
When the Firestone tire recall was in the news on TV, the basic information given was useful to us the next day when the public wanted to know more. All we had to do was to go to that station's web page to get more details. Also used for the new NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board new roll-over ratings).
NPR or the local affiliate will have authors on to discuss their works and I will often have patrons who have heard these same discussions so I will know specifically which book or author they are speaking of. I am able to have a conversation with the patron or maybe I have remembered a specific detail that they can't recall.
Knowing what our patrons are listening and watching can only help us do our jobs better. I was recently watching a PBS program about an organization specialist's program and book, Julie Morgenstern. Several patrons came in the next week asking about her books. One patron couldn't remember any details about her name or the book title. Fortunately, I remembered it and had actually requested her: new title already for the library.
I don't remember any specific questions but I know in general that it make me a more effective reference librarian.
A teacher had asked a question that I was able to refer to a PBS Nova special. I remembered that recently. Nova had done a program on the subject. We went to PHS.org searched the topic and was able to download the entire program transcript for the teacher who then was able to take to his class. I am afraid I forget the specific topic.
It happens every time I work the reference desk.
Usually it helps me with the context of a query. As with print resources, knowing the background information or source of a topic may help if a patron is seeking further information.
Often there are authors featured on these programs and my patrons see or hear about a new book. These programs help me to be informed about them so that I can tell a patron about them or make a decision about whether to purchase them for our library.
I happened to hear the other day that they were going to have satellite voting for the Presidential Election at all Polk County libraries. I knew this was not true, as I am Director of one of them, so I called the appropriate office and told them they needed to correct their information. This helped me to prepare for the onslaught of mad people who were going to come to vote. I informed the staff of how to prepare, got together all the information of where and what to tell people. We managed to come out of it smelling pretty good, but we were prepared simply because I keep abreast of news.
I feel better informed and more able to converse about what is happening on the local level, state level, and national level. Sometimes patrons just want to talk and like to have an informed person behind the desk.
There was a Dateline show on car safety ratings. I had a reference question about the ratings of a certain vehicle and was able to answer it.
We have patrons who hear interviews and can't remember who was interviewed or the book mentioned. With online access to information on programs it is much easier to find that kind of information. Sometimes it is the title of a book or a song or a reference to a country or person.
One of our patrons calls frequently for new discoveries in the treatment of macular degeneration. If something is on the news we can get the jump on her next call.
I used information from a TV newscast to get information about a TKO in a boxing match between Mike Tyson and some poor fool.
Able to refer individual to voter registration info because of local radio program.
The issues about dinosaurs living in Antarctica I first heard on NPR, later saw in a news magazine article, a month or so later in Scientific American. When patrons came in for science stuff on fossils and wanted new dinosaur info I had something I could go to quickly that was "hot", as well as the NPR news on-line having background support info that lead us to tons of other fabulous things (so did Scientific American), but you didn't ask that).
Patrons often frame their questions with "I saw this on such and such news program." Keeping up with at least "some" of the news shows keeps me in context even though it is, of course, impossible to watch every show that patrons mention. This often includes recent books that authors have been promoting on talk and morning shows.
Even as we speak, we are experimenting with a new program called No Excuses Voting. This allows patrons to go to the Board of Elections or other polling place and cast their ballot early rather than waiting until November 7th to do so. This is the first year we've done this in North Carolina and everything I know about it I learned watching local newscasts. Our county neighbors a county that is home to a major metropolitan area. In Charlotte, NC, voters can cast ballots at their local library. However, in this county, one can only cast an early ballot at the board of elections. This has confused many of our patrons because they have not fully listened to what the newscasters were saying. We've had several people come in and hundreds call asking if they can vote here at the library. I've been able to clarify the information and instruct them on where to vote because of the local news media (of course, the local media also caused much of the confusion in the first place by not always specifying that the libraries where one could vote were in Mecklenburg county).
I get asked all the time about particular books that are mentioned on NPR. I can't remember the last one but it happens often. If I have listened and can identify, usually we can piece enough of it together to get the book for the patron if we don't have it already.
Again, just being aware of current topics helps in general. Helps me be prepared, and know ahead of time what I am likely to be asked.
Basically, some of the patrons I help hear and read about things and then go to their library for more information. By keeping abreast of the topics that are of interest to my patrons I am better able to serve them by being prepared when they come in for information.
There have been several times that I have heard a book mentioned on a news program, and I will get a request for it the next day. Watching the television news shows has helped me not only with reference queries but also with collection development.
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