By Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly
In the olden days before computers, ready reference collections were the soul of a library. Librarians helping patrons to answer questions or understand a topic always started in the reference section of the library. They were the most expensive materials and librarians were vigilant in guarding those precious items. I have been admonished by a librarian more than once for not handling these books carefully.
Ready reference collections have adapted to the new world of instant access, anywhere and anytime. Patrons still have questions and are trying to understand topics as always, but now they want it faster, more convenient, and always reliable. The reference need is still there, but now librarians have to think about access and delivery to patrons.