REFERENCE AND INFORMATION ACCESS TOOLS:
Libraries have always been engaged in providing services to their users. Maximum utilization of resources is the principle underlying the heart of the very concept of the librarianship which is the collective sharing and use of the records for the benefit of society as a whole and of the individuals making up the society in particular. In the first law of Library Science too Dr. Ranganathan has emphasized that 'Books are for use.' In reference work, thus, the qualified library professionals supplement the various facilities of the library by providing personal assistance to individual users in search of information. The main role of the reference librarian is to give assistance to the library users by exploiting the library collection to the maximum. Reference work is the actual assistance given to the users in need for information. It enables librarians and users to understand where the recorded information exists and helps in searching the needed information. This activity has been designed in the libraries for the convenience of the users. The library materials require exploitation if it is to be of benefit to the people coming to the library.
Generally most libraries have a separate reference section or collection. The librarian usually provides reference services on the basis of this collection of reference books which are placed in a prominent and separate section of the library. Majority of the users are familiar with reference books as many of them have dictionaries, encyclopaedias, yearbooks, etc. at home as part of their private collection. In this Unit, we provide you an overview of reference books/sources, which are very useful for providing information quickly to the users. You will also get an exposure to the requirements and necessity of a reference department consisting of reference collection in a library.