Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Whole Library Handbook 4

Remember back in the 1970s when The People's Almanac and The Book of Lists were popular? Of course, many of you don't. You are too young to know that these books had a wealth of entertaining and sometimes useful information sqeezed into them. There is something about The Whole Library Handbook 4 that reminds me of those books, which spawned a series of sequels. For years librarians bought and checked those books when they got offbeat or trivial questions. (They did not have the Internet.)

The Whole Library Handbook 4 has a more serious intent than the People's Almanac family of books, but it still has whimsy, like the Whole Earth Catalog from 1969. After all the useful listings of organizations, tables of library statistics, lists of recommended books, glossaries full of useful definitions, and articles about library issues, there is a final section called "Librariana." It starts with the word "library" in 131 languages. Quotations from famous people about libraries, favorite books of famous librarians, and a bibliography of detective fiction set in academic and research libraries follow. The best part may be "Libraries and Librarians in Film, 1999-2005," which takes twelve pages. Want to make a haunted library tour across the U. S.? The handbook has your destinations. I enjoyed browsing this section.

Seriously, the handbook can help you select materials, manage personnel, and plan your library's future. Every library can use a copy.

The Whole Library Handbook 4 edited by George M. Eberhart. Chicago: American Library Association, 2006. ISBN 0838909159

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