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Reference starts at an early age

October 24, 2009

I’ve been enjoying IST605 this semester, learning about the different forms and resources used in reference services. So far we’ve learned about conducting reference interviews, done some virtual reference transactions, and evaluated reference sources. So far, we have covered dictionaries & encyclopedias, biographican & geographical sources. I’ve really enjoyed the practical experience that this class is providing. Although it has taken a good deal of time to get through, the exercises that get us in the library looking at this stuff have been enjoyable.

In the meantime, my children have been doing some reference work of their own. On our last visit to our public library, my son checked out the Guiness Book of World Records. The newest edition of Guiness was in the new book section, and my 11 yr old son really wanted to check it out. Let me just say, this book has provided hours of entertainment for all three of them. All three of them have shown me the world’s longest fingernails at least three times, which is about 8 times too many! I’ve also seen the most tattooed senior citizen, the most pierced man and woman, and the man who could pull the most weight with his eye sockets.

I’m glad they have had fun with it. I’m also happy to see the book has evolved in the last 30 years or so. I remember it being a perennial favorite in my school library, but it was a smaller, paperback version in those days, with fewer photos that were predominately black and white. Today’s edition is a nice hardcover book, and is mostly photographs with complementary text.

Imagine my surprise as I’m perusing this week’s assignment. Our topic is Directories, Almanacs, Yearbooks, Handbooks, Statistics & Gov’t Resources. One of the required sources we have to evaluate is the Guinness Book of World Records! Maybe tomorrow I’ll bake something nice for the kids – after all, I can now check off one of the required sources for this week’s assignment. Thanks kids!~

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