What is reference? Definition according to Merriam-Webster online: ref·er·ence noun : the act of looking at or in something for information adjective : used to find information about something : used to tell people where information can be found Full Definition of REFERENCE : used or usable for reference; especially : constituting a standard for measuring or constructing
What drives your Reference collection? People asking questions about information
Types of Questions that affect a Reference Collection Directional : Ex: Where are the dictionaries located? Have clear and visible signage
Ready Reference Short, to-the-point questions that can usually be quickly found by consulting 1-2 standard reference tools Typically who, what, where, and when kinds of questions Factual answers: Ex: When was the Emancipation Proclamation signed?
What resource do most people use today to answer ready reference questions?
Print Reference resources are used less often due to the Internets easy access to ready reference answers Library Reference print collections are subsequently shrinking Electronic reference resources are often taking precedence over print reference resources
Instructional Reference: When patron needs to know how to do something to get desired information Ex: How can I search DVD titles in your library catalog? Specific Search Reference: When patron needs a range of information and usually multiple sources, in order to more fully understand and investigate a topic Requires more complex information-seeking methods Ex: I need to write a paper on the Bermuda Triangle. Can you help me find some books or articles on this subject?
Concentration on print reference collection For the times when patrons want to choose a print reference versus an online reference resource, how can you streamline your print reference collection to maximize patron use? VS
Review library mission statement, community demographics and collection policy Review your library mission statement to assure which kinds of reference resources make sense Ex: You probably do not want to stock esoteric scholarly resources for a small rural community but you may need to include Farmers Almanacs Be familiar with your service area demographics and special needs Ex: If you are primarily serving an area with an older, senior population, you may want to have several large print reference sources available for easier readability
Align plan for reference collection with your broader collection development policy State purpose/Plan for reference collection: Reference plan is to expedite practical consultation, for instance (not for scholarly research) Decide breadth and depth coverage of major subject/Dewey areas Include 1-2 dictionaries and encyclopedias on major subjects Include a couple more general references in each area Include 1-2 more specialized reference books in areas of higher interest for community: i.e. antique price guides, state and local statutes, and local area atlases.
Reference plan continued Non-circulating or allow limited or full circulation period? Will you choose duplicated materials in print that are available virtually?which ones? Balance print and electronic resources (dont have to be equally balanced but should adhere to logical planex. of having more test prep materials electronically as this format is appropriate to the requesting patron who is in a learning environment (or will be) at minimum). Respond to requests for information by patrons with choices suitable to those inquiries
Reference plan continued Note how you will handle donations Note how you will handle deselection-frequency, method and disposition of items
Scope Ease of use Quality Unique coverage Format Cost Arrangement Authority Currency Accuracy Criteria for selecting new resources to add to collection Appropriateness for audience
Select by reading reviews in professional literature such as Library Journal, Booklist, and others. Professional Reviews
Need to leverage resources to ensure neither money nor shelf space goes to waste (Cassell and Hiremath, 337) Make a budget for reference materials and follow Consider standing order plans for definite wants (updated travel guides, list of 2-year and 4-year colleges, antiques price guides, etc.) Other Selection Considerations
Fit the format to the user Think about which users are likely to use which resources and for what purpose. Then you can tailor the purchase and delivery of these resources accordingly. Ex. High school students are typically tech-savvy and used to online resources, therefore, they may prefer using online databases and ebooks
Down to the nitty gritty Once you have a plan for your reference collection that is, how you would like it to be ultimately composed and updated, it is time to survey your current collection. Ideally you will survey and assess your reference collection on an ongoing basis. You can schedule these reviews or incorporate this task into your daily/weekly duties.
Weed the reference collection Be ruthless! Follow the CREW recommendations for weeding MUSTIE Misleading (factually inaccurate) Ugly Superseded Trivial Irrelevantgetting use Elsewhere obtainedfree on the Internet, ILL Deselecting is the opposite activity from selecting, but both serve the same purposeto have just the right resources residing in the collection
Streamlining print reference Identify subjects that date quickly and weed these heavily MedicineComputers/technology LawScience Weed materials that are also available electronically unless you anticipate higher demand or they are a core resource such as a current dictionary. Move older, but relevant, titles to circulating collection or possibly local history collection
CREW reference recommendations Encyclopedias Keep at least 1 in print (update @ 5 yrs) Subject encyclopedias (update when new editions available or @ 10 yrs) Almanacs Keep updated yearly (move previous year to circulating, then discard) Regional almanacs- keep for historic research as per community needs. Dont need to keep other outdated almanacs like Chases Calendar of Events except possibly your state almanac and specialized like The Old Farmers Almanac (Put date published on spine label to show age). Dictionaries Keep at least 1 unabridged dictionary and general desk dictionary (update @ yr) Specialized dictionaries (ex. abbreviations, slang, and acronym) update regularly. Older editions may be retained and added to the circulating collection, discard if unused. Keep biographical dictionaries until superseded by a newer edition (keep those focused on specific time period as desired. For example, Shapers of the Great Debate at the Constitutional Convention of 1787: a Biographical Dictionary) Foreign language dictionaries, keep until new edition available unless unused. (Update @ 5 years). Move older editions to the circulating collection. Change as community needs.
CREW reference recommendations cont. Directories Keep until newer edition (many now online). Telephone and directory information is now online. Move city directories and local telephone books to local history room. Atlases Keep comprehensive geographical atlas in print (update min @ 5. Replace road atlases @ 2-3 years. Keep retrospective or historical atlases, such as The Routledge Historical Atlas of Religion in America, indefinitely as information seldom changes but may be newly interpreted periodically. Keep map books, local street guides and atlases dealing with local areas and regions until older, then move to local history. Handbooks Handbooks include a wide variety of resources on specific subjects or techniques. Ease of use important. Keep most recent editions. Time and innovation sensitive subject areas need to stay updated, discard older as information may be dangerous. Can keep social science tools up to 10 years. Science outdated in 5 years or less with exception of natural history, botany. Legal forms and information Should be up to date, though many forms and sample documents in electronic format. Discard older editions. Keep tax prep guides 3 years.
Resulting reference collection Total in Reference Collection Sept 20122681 Sept 20131577 (weeded out 41%) Items deleted from reference between Sept 2012 and Sept 2013811 Items moved to circulating from reference between Sept 2012 and Sept 2013293 1104 removed from reference so far Still have 900s to weed Items in Reference collection by Dewey Number 000-09958500-59961 100-19916600-69956 200-29941700-799148 300-399212800-899158 400-49952900-999775
Promote Reference resources Purchase/prepare signage that is Visible Easy to understand Attractive Arrange ancillary subject materials in attractive manner near subject shelves Prepare pathfinders for common information needs Publicize electronic reference resources on library website and assure staff is trained to suggest these as potential resources
RESOURCES FOR REFERENCE COLLECTION MANAGEMENT Cassell, Kay Ann and Hiremath, Uma. Reference and Information Services in the 21 st Century: An Introduction. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2009. Print.
Web resources General lists of librarian-selected web resources Internet Public Library www.ipl.orgwww.ipl.org New York Public Librarys Best of the Web www.nypl.org/links/www.nypl.org/links/ University of Washingtons Information Gateway www.lib.washington.edu/subject/ www.lib.washington.edu/subject/ Vermont Dept. of Libraries web references http://libraries.vermont.gov/libraries/refweb New Mexico State Library Basic Reference Resources http://www.nmstatelibrary.org/docs/BasicRefSources.pdf Maine Public Libraries Bare Bones Reference List http://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/collect/barebones2011.pdf
Web Resources about Library Reference American Library Association-Reference and User Services Association guidelines http://www.ala.org/rusa/resources/guidelines http://www.ala.org/rusa/resources/guidelines CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries prepared by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/index.html https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/index.html Library Journal--Reference BackTalk: A Time to Weed http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2008/05/ljarchives/referenc e-backtalk-a-time-to-weed/