About Reference

The System Reference Center (SRC) is located in the Headquarters of NLS in Santa Rosa and normally provides second-level reference service to NorthNet Library System members. Staff may refer questions to the SRC when they feel that the patron’s request for information goes beyond the scope, mission or resources of their library. Patrons do not have direct access to the SRC.

Due to budget shortfalls NLS will only be able to offer extreme emergency second level reference service. There will be no reference staff and questions will be forwarded to the Serra System for handling. Each jurisdiction will need to determine their own internal approach to reference question referral.  Questions that libraries do want to move forward should be sent to NLS Headquarters to send on to Serra.

Please use the service only for complex questions that require deep research. 

Tips for In-House Question Handling

  • Law questions: Do not forget county law libraries–many city county, state and fed laws and statutes are online full-text. Sacramento Public Law library is a member of NorthNet.
  • Business: Historical stock quotes not to be found online at Big Charts and other places can be found in historical New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and even most local mid-sized newspapers on microfilm. Many newspapers on your database have back files to the 80’s or earlier.
  • Sheet music: Worldcat has many songbooks with the complete index which you can ILL, or better yet to send to an Ask a Librarian email, chat or call–it will get you a copy for free or relatively cheap. Songfiles at large libraries such as SFPL, LAPL, and SJVIS have indices to check.
  • Words, poems quotes: Google Books has become a wonderful resource for finding quotes in context and often lead back to sources at hand.