Actually, I am trying to reduce our reference collection. We have a large number of reference books that I don't believe are ever used and I am gradually moving over to the circulating collections. My goal is to have only those works in reference which someone might actually need to use in the library without waiting for a checked out copy -- dictionaries (English, Spanish, and English/Spanish), encyclopedias (we alternate Britannica and Comptons with World Book in alternate years, and put the old copies in the circulating collection -- and sell the previous circulating copy, which is still up to date enough for someone to use at home for most purposes-- so there are always at least two fairly reliable recent sources of information on anything that an encyclopedia would cover in the library for instant use), a couple of up-to-date medical references, some oversized atlases, a historical timeline, biographical references, and an up-to-date copy of the Utah Code.
Anything beyond this, I think would be of more use if people can check it out, even if it is in an alphabetical or chronological dictionary/encyclopedia format (e.g. Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs, etc.)-- people just don't want to do their research in house (this may have been more realistic when we were a quiet library, but now we have story times and kids running around all the time, it just doesn't work any more.) I constantly see books in the reference section which I have no idea why they were ever put there -- I think at one time books were put reference because of their price (so to keep an expensive book "safe" from going missing, we made sure no one would ever use it -- not a great investment in my opinion.)
I have also stopped buying almost anything that has information which is quickly outdated and available 'fresher" on the Internet -- books that contain contact names and phone numbers (aside from the local phone book), prices, wage information, "ratings", or that suggest buying particular stocks, particular brands and models of anything, etc. are absurd to have in print form today, except maybe as weekly or monthly magazines (we still get Consumer Reports magazine, but not the books). I also by this decision got rid of the great annoyance of Grey House (any librarian who has inherited this vendor knows what I'm talking about.)
We have a few databases which came with book sets -- mainly Salem's reference works (which we put circulating now) -- but I don't think our Internet users really know about them. This is one of our ongoing concerns, how to publicize our electronic resources (especially the Utah Pioneer collection -- EBSCO. etc. -- which I use personally and couldn't do without.)
posted 4 years ago. ( permalink )