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Mr. B's Reference Rally

Reference Tools

Need to know something? Want to look up something quickly? Maybe it’s for school or perhaps is something you have a personal interest in.

Yes, there are many great Websites to quickly find information. There are also helpful books. Sometimes, it is easier to look something up by grabbing a handy book that is organized to answer questions.

Most libraries have a special collection of books that are written to help you quickly find information. These books are kept in the library.

They are not usually checked out (always ask if you have a special need for a book, librarians want to help you and will try to find ways to get you books you need).

Reference books are kept in the library so that we can quickly “refer” to information. By not checking these books out, people know they can come to the library anytime with their reference questions.

Many libraries have copies these books in their DEWEY collections too – the same book, but ready for you to check out.  Some common reference books include (and remember, there are more):

  • Almanacs. These are annual publications that contain calendars, facts, statistics, and other information. An example is the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
  • Interesting Facts & Figures. These books are like dictionaries of information – things that are fun to know. An example is the Guinness World Book of Records.
  • Atlases. These are collections of maps, bound into book form. They also often tell us about the maps, perhaps including information about geographic features and political boundaries, social, religious and economic data.
  • Dictionaries. These contain alphabetical list of words, pronunciations, and definitions. A common example is Webster’s Dictionary. There are a variety of specialty dictionaries too, like Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary.
  • Encyclopedias.  These are usually sets of books, though sometimes specialty topic-specific encyclopedias are just one book.  They contain general information about people, places, and things. 
  • Thesaurus. These are books about words with the same meaning (synonyms) and books with opposite meanings (antonyms). An example is Roger’s Thesaurus.

Encyclopedias. These are books, organized alphabetically, that give general information about topics. The provide overviews to help people get started with research or learning. There are general encyclopedias (like World Book) and specialty encyclopedias like Science Encyclopedia.