Reference Tools

Reference tools will help you to find information more easily and quickly, provided you know how to use them effectively and efficiently. Reference tools generally do not check out of libraries; they are needed for frequent use within the library setting. They are available in both print (books, maps, periodicals, etc.) and non-print (computer databases, Internet, DVD, CD, etc.) formats. Sometimes, you can actually find better information faster by using print tools, even though we usually think of non-print as being the faster source. With practice, you'll know when it's best to use each format. For example, to find out the current population of California, using a non-print tool would be best. However, to find out what a giraffe prefers to eat, you might get better information from a print source, like an encyclopedia.

PRINT Reference Tools

Dictionary (general and special)

Encyclopedia (general and special)



Books, Periodicals, Maps and Charts, etc.


NON-PRINT Reference Tools

Internet website

Online database (subscription and Internet)

Video, DVD, Blu-ray, etc.

CD, CD-ROM, MP3, etc.

TV/Cable program