New York Library’s Rock! That was the theme of this year’s New York Library’s Association’s Conference in Saratoga Springs. First, thank you to NYLA for putting together the conference. I found the panels extremely informative and enjoyed being able to talk with various people at the trade show. Second, thank you to Syracuse University for having a booth and allowing me to represent the program. I highly suggest attending conferences because you learn and become inspired by panelists and meet many friendly people through talking and networking.
At NYLA, I learned from Jacqueline Sulivan about a very cool initiative Gale Cengage launched to promote librarianship and help, us, LIS students become future library superheroes: Librareo. Signing up is free and students gain access to discussion boards and numerous Cengage databases and resources to explore and practice reference. I wish I had known about this resource before my last reference assignment, though, as the databases are very user friendly and all the information is cited. The purpose of Librareo is to be a safe place for beginning librarians to ask questions, learn about Gale Cengage products and network with current library superheroes. The program is so new though that there are not many discussions or comments. While this allows for current comments to stand out even more, I hope the responses will improve as the website becomes more popular!
There are fourteen different gale products/databases available for access and to play with. My favorites were the biography in context and opposing viewpoints in context. A major challenge in reference is controversial issues. While all resources have inherent bias, Cengage’s opposing viewpoints database provides a great cited starting point if you do not want to consult Wikipedia. In the biography product, I searched for my professor, Dr. Lankes and, indeed received, current reference information. There is even the option for audio and the website will highlight the text as it is reading it! While the website was just launched and there is not much activity, I think this is a useful resource and something to watch in the next few months. I am especially excited about this as Stephen Abraham is involved, and there is currently a discussion led by him as to what resources us librarians would like to see on librareo. I would definitely suggest singing up!