NEW! ASERL "Stumpers" email list
From: John Burger (
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2015 14:42:01 -0700 (PDT)

ASERL Friends:


You may recall ASERL has a Reciprocal Reference program whereby a dozen ASERL libraries have agreed to retain a limited number of print reference titles, and participating libraries can ask for assistance from other participants should they ever need to access those materials.


We have debated whether to create some kind of formalized “Reciprocal Reference Service” as a complement to the print reference retention program, to share specialized reference expertise across ASERL libraries.  We wondered whether this could be an extension of the “Center of Excellence” gov-doc program, or some other means for creating a way to locate of who-has-what-expertise. 


Instead, we are going to experiment with a new email list for “Stumpers” questions.  Librarians with an interest in helping others answer specialized/unusual questions are invited to join to the list – see  to subscribe.


When an unusual, tricky, otherwise hard-to-answer reference question arises from a patron at an ASERL library, the librarian who receives the question can post it to the “Stumpers” email list –stumpers [at]  – and ask the ASERL community for help with the answer.  We hope the strong service orientation (and competitive nature, perhaps?) of ASERL librarians will lead to high-quality, positive, crowd-source responses.


We are considering ways to recognize great service from the “Stumpers” list via a means of annual prizes – perhaps for “fastest answer,” “most arcane question,” “question I wish I had never heard,” etc.  We welcome your ideas as the program rolls out.   We’ll also evaluate the use of the list later this year to determine if it’s a useful resource.  Your suggestions for improvements are welcome, as always.


For now:  If this sounds like something that might interest you and you have expertise in answering difficult reference questions and/or unusual subject matters or non-English languages, please consider joining our Stumpers list at .






John Burger, Executive Director

Association of Southeastern Research Libraries


   c/o Georgia State University Library - Administration Suite LS7

   100 Decatur Street SE

   Atlanta, GA 30303-3202


   Telephone:  404-413-2896


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