(ACTUAL LIST IS MAINTAINED ON WEBSITE FOR APLS – ALL COLLECTION EVALUATIONS WILL BE COMPARED TO THE SUGGESTED LIST)
Suggestions for a basic reference collection
Each public library should have a collection of basic reference tools so that a majority of the reference requests received can be answered in-house.
This list of titles, arranged by the Dewey Decimal Classification and then broad subjects has been compiled by the reference staff of the Alabama Public Library Service with the advice of reference librarians from the public libraries of Birmingham, Huntsville, and Mobile. The subject areas are displayed in bold print, e.g., “Dictionary of Foreign Phrases.” One or more examples of reference books are listed for each subject area.
Standard or classic titles that will remain in print or will be updated regularly have been selected. Every effort has been made to select reasonably priced items. This list is meant to be a guide; librarians may wish to select other titles. There are many excellent reference books that are not on this list.
The following titles are basic selection aids for reference resources. These titles were used to develop this list. APLS keeps current copies of these books for you to use when you are selecting titles for your own collection:
American Reference Books Annual. Bohdan S. Wynar, ed. Libraries Unlimited.
Guide to Reference Books. Robert Balay, ed. ALA.
Madame Audrey’s Guide to Mostly Cheap But Good Reference Books for Small and Rural Libraries. Audrey Lewis. ALA.
Recommended Reference Books for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries and Media Centers. Bohdan. S. Wynar, ed. Libraries Unlimited.
Reference Sources for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries. ALA. Annual.
A current reference collection is a necessity. Annuals, almanacs, and yearbooks should be replaced each year. Science and medical books should be replaced every three years. If you need assistance in determining the most current editions, contact the APLS Reference Department.
The Internet is an integral part of reference service now. No recommended list can be complete without a list of suggested sites.