ALA Program -Rethinking the Reference Collection

Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin: Rethinking the Reference Collection
McCormick Place West W-179
Monday, July 13, 2009, 10:30 – 12:00

A panel of librarians representing school, public, and academic libraries will answer questions about the challenges, needs, and uses of current and future reference collections.  The session will be a moderated Q&A, format, with opportunities for audience members to ask questions and comment.


Sara Johns, Library Media Specialist, Lake Placid Middle/High School

Barbara Bibel, Reference Librarian, Oakland Public Library

Dave Tyckoson, Associate Dean, Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno

Moderator: Sue Polanka, Head, Reference/Instruction, Wright State University Libraries

3 thoughts on “ALA Program -Rethinking the Reference Collection”

  1. End-October, 2009
    I am sitting in a small town public library in Pennsylvania. The library is housed in a former very old bank building with other offices. The librarian needs extra shelf space and I said “Get rid of all these encyclopedias, etc. in Reference that are never used, and a lot more of the Reference materials and then you’ll have the space.” But I know that ALA or this library SYSTEM says that the librarian needs to keep a basic Reference collection. / I do know that the collection is never used except for the local and regional history section/housed on shelves that are invaluable. My question: What is ALA recommending in a Reference collection (books) for small, rural, overcrowded old buildings in towns that would never have the money to expand? What can be gotten rid in Reference and the librarian here would think it awful to put this old stuff in a dumpster! Most of this collection is on the internet anyway. / Getting rid of these dusty Reference books would free-up at least eight very much needed shelves. It’s a dilemna to her and I am a retired school librarian who retired long before the internet was BIG. I cannot say much because of my background so only use this library as a patron, not as a former librarian, but I sure would do things differently. This librarian has no training and is old, only had some basic workshops at most. Suggestions? What is the follow-up on the above article, “ALA Program–Rethinking the Reference Collection”? (Sue Polanka)

  2. Hi Allie,
    I typed up a transcript of this session, which I’ll email to you. ALA also has several books that recommend reference sources for small libraries. (Recommended Sources for Small and Medium Sized Libraries is one) These titles generally recommend lots of things for the collection and I don’t recall anything in the books that discusses what are the bare bones titles and what should be gotten rid of.

  3. Hi,

    Three high school libraries in my school district are rethinking our shelving of reference books and are interested in your transcript of the session. Could you also email it to me? Thanks!

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