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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Kathryn L. Fowler, MLS RN-BC(UPMC Passavant)
Description: This book is intended to be a reference librarian's guide to answering the question, "Where do I begin to make changes or develop any of the areas under my purview?" The book is broken into four major subject headings with 21 chapters, each concluding with an extensive bibliography. This edition covers similar, if not the same, topics as the 2006 edition, with updated references.
Purpose: The authors seek to link their readers to the resources they need to answer the questions they get at the reference desk and within the department.
Audience: This book would benefit future librarians in a reference class as well as librarians transferring between disciplines who are not familiar with resources. It also could provide managers and administrators with ideas for rethinking the "it has always been done this way" tendency at their institutions. Both authors have the background and experience to provide with authority an insider's view of the reference department.
Features: Each topic is covered in a few pages. Among the topics are locating the best sources for collections, developing staff to use the resources and interact with the public, and finding the answer to the question that the patron perhaps did not articulate. Rather than one index, there are two (subject and reference resources), which makes searching through the book much easier. All of the black-and-white screenshots are clear and include attribution.
Assessment: Although the information is relevant, the book only skims each topic. I would have preferred fewer topics covered in more depth, or perhaps the same number of topics in a multiple volume edition. With a larger publication, the needs of the collection, users, management, and librarians could have been covered in more depth, increasing the book's usefulness.