Librarians Helping Librarians

By Jerry W. Mansfield – Chair, Government Libraries Section.

Nearly every library has an “Ask a Librarian” link on their website via which a library patron may ask any librarian a question via the web and receive a reply back via email or in a response posted to a website for other patrons to read. Now there is a similar service for librarians who are having difficulty in locating, identifying, creating, or comparing either responses, plans, or products and more. Heather Negley, a librarian living in Virginia (USA), has developed the website Help a Librarian available at

As the website states, “Help a Librarian (HAL) is a community powered service that unites librarians from all over the world to help each other answer questions, share knowledge and enhance cultural understanding. HAL is comprised of librarians from over 50 different countries.” Simply go to the website, register, and you are on your way. I have only been a member for a month yet I have responded to requests from half a dozen librarians from around the world. I have used my knowledge of the IFLA website and the publications prepared by the many sections to point a librarian in need to the exact section publication or section member that may provide assistance. I recently also posted my first query on behalf of a friend.

In October 2010 an Indian newspaper, the Deccan Herald, reviewed the Help a Librarian website at and the October issue of American Libraries also includes a review of Help a Librarian by Harvard University librarian Stephanie Rocio Miles.

Check it out!

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