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Fundamentals of Reference
Carolyn M. Mulac
Item Number: 978-0-8389-1087-0
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $54.00
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This title is also available for purchase as an e-book or as a print/e-book bundle.

144 pages
6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1087-0
Year Published: 2012
AP Categories: A, C, I

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The all-in-one “Reference reference” you’ve been waiting for, this invaluable book offers a concise introduction to reference sources and services for a variety of readers, from library staff members who are asked to work in the reference department to managers and others who wish to familiarize themselves with this important area of librarianship. Written in an accessible style and designed for everyday use, it presents an overview of the basic tools and techniques of reference work, including
  • “Reference Services,” a section addressing such important topics as telephone reference, the reference interview, and electronic reference
  • “Reference Sources,” chapters which focus on types of reference tools, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, handbooks, and almanacs
  • Appendixes with key documents prepared by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and an annotated bibliography
An excellent training tool for both new and experienced staff, Fundamentals of Reference will quickly become your fundamental reference!
Table of Contents


PART 1: Reference Sources
1 Encyclopedias
2 Websites
3 Dictionaries
4 Almanacs, Handbooks, and Yearbooks
5 Indexes
6 Directories
7 Geographical Sources
8 Biographical Sources
9 Statistical Sources

PART 2: Reference Services
10 The Reference Interview
11 Reference Service in Person
12 Telephone Reference Service
13 Online Reference Service
14 Reference Service to Children and Young Adults
15 Reference Service in Special Subjects
16 Reference Policies
17 Reference Standards
18 Reference Evaluation

Appendix: ALA Documents
List of Reference Sources Discussed in Part 1

About the Author

Carolyn M. Mulac has more than 30 years’ experience in reference work. An active member of ALA’s Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), she has served on a number of committees and chaired the Reference Books Bulletin Editorial Board, the Dartmouth Medal Committee, and the Management of Reference Committee. She has reviewed reference sources for Booklist since 1991 and contributed to the 6th and 7th editions of Reference Sources for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries. She also reviews books on the performing arts for Library Journal and contributes to Booklist’s Points of Reference blog. In 2008 she received the Illinois Library Association’s Reference Services Award.

"Mulac offers useful tips for undertaking reference interviews and providing email reference services, chat and instant messaging. The process emphasized throughout these discussions is approachability, having good listening skills, enquiring, searching and following up. This is an easy-to-read introductory guide to reference services. The book is well laid out and effectively covers the key elements of reference services … This book would be ideal for people working in reference services, as well as a useful guide for LIS students and graduates."
--Australian Library Journal

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