answers @ your library                          

They come by telephone, fax, email or in person – questions spanning an endless range of possibilities. Reference librarians in the Stanislaus County Library system are experts at helping people find the information they need.

In a typical day, reference librarians help customers find information on auto repair, cancer treatment and local support groups, consumer rights, or even suggestions for a customer’s pleasure reading. As part of the county’s ongoing effort to become the best county in America, the Stanislaus County Library strives to serve its clientele with excellent customer service.

Patricia Phelan, head of reference services at the Modesto Library says helping people with a variety of questions makes reference work rewarding.

"I recently had calls from two different customers, both diagnosed with cancer and too ill to come to the

library," said Phelan. "For one, I found an article about local ovarian cancer survivors and information about an ovarian cancer support group that meets in Modesto. The other requested information about basal cell carcinoma, which I found and sent to her home. In between the cancer patients, I helped a customer find piano music and words to Sisters by Irving Berlin in our local song file collection. The kind of assistance we provide is very diverse."

For those who may not have used the library in a while, Stanislaus County Library staff invite you to stop by and see what you’ve been missing. Library staff are eager to help you find the information you need.

Visit or call any Stanislaus County Library for assistance. Reference support is also available by fax at 558-7814 or by email at






"Whether the questions are big or small, the answers are much appreciated by our customers."

Amy Castor
Reference Librarian
Modesto Library


Reference librarian helping a customer image

Reference Desk

business @ your library                     

Local historians report that in 1933 two brothers visited the Modesto Library and found pamphlets that helped them start their business. Today, the Modesto-based E. & J. Gallo Winery is the largest winery in the world. Sixty-eight years later, the Stanislaus County Library system is still providing a vital service for local businesses, business people and non-profit organizations.

Frequently asked questions include such things as how to start a business or non-profit organization, how to research other businesses, how to find information about non-profit or research grants, and questions about personal finance, investment information, management and leadership.

"I’ve always been interested in business and finance and I try to stay current in those fields" said Stacey

Chen, reference librarian specializing in business. "Sometimes a customer’s question leads me to further research, which enriches my knowledge, enabling me to better serve our customers."

Sometimes people don’t think about the library as a resource for businesses and business people. With a variety of online and hardcopy materials available, the library is a great place to come for everything from how to develop a business plan to learning about franchise opportunities.

As part of the county’s efforts to deliver excellent community service and facilitate economic development, a specialized business library to be located at Tenth Street Place is in the early planning stages. Please watch for details.

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