Cassell and Hiremath's updated introduction to reference and information services

book cover for "Reference and Information Services: An Introduction, Fifth Edition"CHICAGO — From the ongoing flood of misinformation to the swift changes occasioned by the pandemic, a myriad of factors is spurring our profession to rethink reference services. Luckily, Kay Ann Cassell & Uma Hiremath’s “Reference and Information Services: An Introduction” is back in a newly overhauled edition that thoughtfully addresses the evolving reference landscape. Designed to complement every introductory library reference course, the fifth edition also serves as the perfect resource to guide current practitioners in their day-to-day work. Published by ALA Neal-Schuman and guided by a national advisory board of educators and experts, this thoroughly updated text presents chapters covering fundamental concepts, major reference sources, and special topics while also offering fresh insights on timely issues, including:

  • a basic template for the skills required and expectations demanded of the reference librarian;
  • the pandemic’s effect on reference services and how the ingenuity employed by libraries in providing remote and virtual reference is here to stay;
  • a new chapter dedicated to health information, with a special focus on health equity and information sources;
  • selecting and evaluating reference materials, with strategies for keeping up to date;
  • a heightened emphasis on techniques for evaluating sources for misinformation and ways to give library users the tools to discern facts vs. “fake facts”;
  • reference as programming, readers’ advisory services, developmentally appropriate material for children and young adults, and information literacy;
  • evidence-based guidance on handling microaggressions in reference interactions, featuring discussions of cultural humility and competence alongside recommended resources on implicit bias;
  • managing, assessing, and improving reference services; and
  • the future of information and reference services, encapsulating existing models, materials, and services to project possible evolutions in the dynamic world of reference.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use. Instructors adopting this textbook for a course may email editionsmarketing@ala.orgfor supplementary PowerPoint slides.

Cassell is presently an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University Department of Library and Information Science, where she teaches a variety of courses including reference and information services, collection development, public librarianship, and government information resources. She has been the director of several public libraries and was the Associate Director for Collections and Services at the New York Public Library. As NYPL’s Associate Director of Collections and Services she oversaw the development of reference, collections, programs and services for all of the branches and initiated new programs and services. Also the author of “Managing Reference Today” and “Public Libraries and Their Communities,” she was selected as the 2019 winner of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, the Reference and User Services Association’s highest honor. Hiremath was Executive Director at the Ames Free Library, Massachusetts; 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.

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