I recently heard on the radio about cities setting up 311 access for non-emergency questions. The plan was to use it for non-emergency police questions, but it has expanded to be all sorts of questions from battered women’s shelters to food pantries to how to get a bus pass. The funny thing is many of these are questions that libraries are asked — and work hard to find the answers to — every day. Much of the job of a Reference librarian is finding the not-easily-found answers hidden in government websites and other public resources. Of course, the library is not necessarily the best place to answer all of these questions. We usually call the Town Nurse for questions about food pantries and battered women’s shelters. If there are websites with the information up-to-date, I add them to our website’s Recommended Internet Links page.
My question to those of you reading this: What questions might you have that you would like us to find the answers to?
Check out the 311 webpages for cities around the country to see what they provide.