Ask An Agent: Print Reference Section?

askanagent2You’ve got questions,  we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….

Question:  Is it still worth it to have a print reference section?




Courtney (MO River Regional Library) says: 

It probably depends on the type of library you’re in. I’m in a public library and the only reference section we have left is in our adult area. The Teen department hasn’t had a reference section in years and no one seems to miss its absence. Our Children’s department got rid of theirs a couple of years ago; all the books went into the circulating collection and they haven’t looked back either. There’s been talk about paring down our adult reference section as well.

Michele (Westwood High School Library) says: 

I am a high school librarian and I re-purposed all of my print reference section into regular circulation (except those titles that were redundant). We are lucky to have lots of online databases that cover reference topics and I teach students how to research topics online so I felt pretty safe re-labeling.  I worried about losing Vol. 1 of a set but  3 years later it has not been the case. I am slowly weeding the reference titles as the years go by and I see  the circulation history. I have been pleasantly surprised that many students tell me they still like scanning through a book for quick information. Many of the books are still being checked out or used in the library when classes come to work on projects (I make sure that I scan these in as circulating in the library). So long story short I didn’t ditch all those titles right off the bat but relabeled them regular circulation, and am evaluating the titles as the years go by.