“We’re heading into tax season, so we’re getting a lot of questions on where people can find forms and other kinds of tax information,” says Laura Pershin Raynor, one of the librarians who staff the reference desk at the Ann Arbor District Library.

The Internet may have taken its toll on print media, brick-and-mortar stores, and the postal service, but lots of people are still calling or visiting the library to get their questions answered, and librarians are still using those calls as teachable moments.

“It kind of surprises me to say it, but we get a lot of the same questions we got many years ago,” says Raynor. “A big part of what we do is still guidance and teaching and showing people what’s available at their fingertips. The tools have changed, but the process is still the same.” Instead of pointing questioners to reference books, librarians are now more likely to explain how to refine searches, download e-books, and access the library’s subscription databases, like Lexis-Nexus, and Reference USA.

There’s also lots of information that can’t be Googled, much of it in the library’s Ann Arbor News archives, like obituaries. “Local, local, local is a lot of what we do reference-wise,” says Raynor. For example, her colleague Ryan Case remembers a caller who wanted to see the News‘s coverage of Desmond Howard winning the Heisman Trophy.

They can also find–in a book, no less–company phone numbers, as well as names, titles, and contact information for cor-porate executives. Librarian Anne Drodz notes what many patrons have already learned to their dismay: “It’s often difficult to find that information on business websites.”

Librarians also supply something else that’s difficult to find online. Says Case, “I think a lot of people come to the reference desk to have human interaction.”