For journalists, doing research is part of the job description. But when the location of a particular article stumped a journalist-turned-professor and staff at the New York Times, it was a Saint Louis County Librarian that came to the rescue.
Charlene Oldham, an adjunct professor at Lindenwood University, was looking for an article she’d freelanced for the New York Times. When she couldn’t find it, she emailed the newspaper’s customer service directly. When they couldn’t find it, they had some advice: “You might also try the library,” a customer service representative wrote to Oldham.
She did, and it took Paul Steensland, a reference librarian at the just minutes to send the article straight to Oldham’s inbox.
“It took Steensland about 10 minutes to accomplish a task I'd spent a couple of hours on with no success,” she wrote in an aside linked to her blog. “Clearly, we reporters should leave research to the pros.”
Oldham shared her story on her blog in a post lamenting cuts to public libraries, which she called “the only oasis in a digital desert” for families without Internet access in their homes.
Saint Louis County Libraries put the blog post on its Facebook page, and a St. Louis Community College student shared his thoughts in the comments:
“This article pretty much sums up why I want to become a librarian and why libraries are still a vital source in our society,” Alex Bower-Leet wrote.