Many adults have literacy problems in English due to poor schooling, recent immigration, or a host of other factors. These hard-pressed readers have the same basic information needs as better readers do, but they cannot handle the same books. How does the adult reference desk serve their needs?
One way is to have at hand a simple list of children's nonfiction books that give good, solid information on popular topics; that do not ("talk down") to readers; and that do not frighten them away with childish illustrations. This is precisely what Dr. Riechel, former reference and online specialist in the Queens Borough Public Library system in New York, has compiled in this reference. Over 175 children's titles in sixteen subject categories are annotated here so that adult librarians can see at a glance the information offered by each, the number of pages, whether there is a glossary, index, or bibliography, and what features the book possesses that would answer adult reference needs. Subjects covered are architecture, art and music, biography, computer technology, cookbooks and cookery, culture and education, history and geography, language arts and communication, medicine and health, nature and natural history, pets and pet care, science, social sciences, sports, technology and industrial arts, and transportation.