Fast Facts: A Day at the Desk
Sunday, November 21, 2010

By Reference Librarian Anne Rau

Being a Reference Librarian is a job that keeps you on your toes. You never know what someone will ask; questions fly at you on every subject. Although it's challenging work, it's also very interesting. I decided to keep a log about the requests I received on just one single day at the Reference Desk.

Here's who I was able to help during that shift:

o    A woman who wanted to study for the GED. I showed her how to search our online catalog for reference books at Typing GED into the search box brought up 48 results. I also showed her how to find free practice tests by typing “test practice” into the search box at
o    A man who wanted copies of articles about his 1970s high school sports team from a local paper, which was stored at the library on microfilm.

o    Someone new to the area asking for a list of apartments. I referred her to, where she could search by price, size, location and more.

o    CADL's local history librarian, who needed help organizing material about the Civilian Defense Corps in Lansing (including the use of pigeons!)

o    Someone from northern Michigan who had placed an online request for one of our books at, the statewide electronic catalog.

o    Someone who used our e-mail form at to get information about our World Languages collection

o    A woman requesting information about the historical Spiritual Camp at Lake Lansing. When she stopped by the Reference Desk later, the information was waiting for her.

o    Someone who needed a telephone number in Brazil, which I found by searching on Luckily you don't need to speak Portuguese to use this tool!

o    A man looking for consumer reviews of televisions. CADL's website has links to thousands of full-text magazine articles, all free to patrons.

o    A woman who had shrimp and angel hair pasta but didn't know what to make for dinner. I found a recipe for her at

Come in soon and let us know what we can do for you! The Capital Area District Library Reference Department is located at 401 S. Capitol Avenue in Lansing, MI. Contact them at 517-367-6346 or by e-mail at

Please note that all branches of the Capital Area District Library will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25, for Thanksgiving. Regular hours will resume on Friday, Nov. 26. 

This was originally printed in November 21, 2010 - December 4, 2010


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