Reference and Information Services, 4th edition

Jun 2018 | 480pp

Price: £69.95
CILIP members price: £55.95

Share this page

Join our mailing list

Reference and Information Services, 4th edition
An introduction

Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath

Designed to complement every introductory library reference course, this is the perfect text for students and librarians looking to expand their personal reference knowledge, teaching failsafe methods for identifying important materials by matching specific types of questions to the best available sources, regardless of format. Guided by a national advisory board of educators and practitioners, this thoroughly updated text expertly keeps up with new technologies and practices while remaining grounded in the basics of reference work. Chapters on fundamental concepts, major reference sources, and special topics provide a solid foundation; the text also offers fresh insight on core issues, including:

  • ethics, readers’ advisory, information literacy, and other key aspects of reference librarianship
  • selecting and evaluating reference materials, with strategies for keeping up to date
  • assessing and improving reference services
  • guidance on conducting reference interviews with a range of different library users, including children and young adults
  • a new discussion of reference as programming
  • important special reference topics such as Google search, 24/7 reference, and virtual reference
  • delivering reference services across multiple platforms.

As librarians experience a changing climate for all information services professionals, in this book Cassell and Hiremath provide the tools needed to manage the ebb and flow of changing reference services in today’s libraries.


List of Figures and Tables



Part I   Fundamental Concepts

1          Introduction to Reference and Information Services

2          Determining the Question: In-Person, Telephone, and Virtual Reference Interviews

3          Finding the Answer: Basic Search Techniques

Part II   Introduction to Major Reference Sources

4          Answering Questions about Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Libraries and Publishing, and Bibliographic Networks—Bibliographic Resources

5          Answering Questions about Anything and Everything—Encyclopedias

6          Answering Questions That Require Handy Facts—Ready Reference Sources

7          Answering Questions about Words—Dictionaries, Concordances, and Manuals

8          Answering Questions about Events and Issues, Past and Present—Databases (and Indexes)

9          Answering Questions about Health, Law, and Business—Special Guidelines and Sources

10        Answering Questions about Geography, Countries, and Travel—Atlases, Gazetteers, Maps, Geographic Information Systems, and Travel Guides

11        Answering Questions about the Lives of People—Biographical Information Sources

12        Answering Questions about Government and Related Issues—Government Information Sources

Part III   Special Topics in Reference and Information Work

13        When and How to Use the Internet as a Reference Tool

14        Readers’ Advisory Services

Cindy Orr

15        Reference Services for Children and Young Adults

Sujin Huggins

16        Information Literacy in the Reference Department

Part IV   Developing and Managing Reference Collections and Services

17        Ethics in Reference

Diana J. Floegel

18        Selecting and Evaluating Reference Materials

19        Reference as Programming

20        Managing Reference Departments

21        Assessing and Improving Reference Services

22        Reference 2.0

23        The Future of Information Service

Appendix: RUSA Outstanding Reference Sources 2007–2017

About the Authors and Contributors

Index of Reference Resources

Subject Index

Reviews of the Third Edition 

"A tool for library school students, new librarians, the public library reference desk, or anyone needing a general resource about providing information services and recommended tools of the trade … A well-written, readable work that is worth adding to a general ready-reference collection or a library student’s bookshelf."
Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries

”Library school students will benefit from reading the book cover-to-cover, and the most diligent of them will remember it as an important component of their education ... The book is an irreplaceable source that can be recommended as an essential item for any library’s professional collection."
Collection Building


Kay Ann Cassell received her BA from Carnegie Mellon University, her MLS from Rutgers University, and her PhD from the International University for Graduate Studies. She has worked in academic libraries and public libraries as a reference librarian and as a library director. Ms. Cassell is a past president of Reference and User Services Association of ALA and is active on ALA and RUSA committees. She is the editor of the journal Collection Building and is the author of numerous articles and books on collection development and reference service. She was formerly the Associate Director of Collections and Services for the Branch Libraries of the New York Public Library where she was in charge of collection development and age-level services for the Branch Libraries. She is now a Lecturer and Director of the MLIS Program in the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Uma Hiremath is Executive Director at the Ames Free Library, Massachusetts. She was Assistant Director at the Thayer Public Library, Massachusetts; Head of Reference at the West Orange Public Library, New Jersey; and Supervising Librarian at the New York Public Library where she worked for five years. She received her MLS from Pratt Institute, New York, and her PhD in political science at the University of Pittsburgh.

More titles in this category >>