As a reference librarian, I'm often asked to recommend the quintessential book on a topic I don't know much about, a book that gives the general reader the broad outlines of a field in a compact, accessible format. Somewhere between a Wikipedia article and a shelf full of specialized tomes is the elusive "just right" kind of book.
Oxford University Press identified this need and launched a wonderful series called Very Short Introductions (VSI). Andrea Keegan, the series editor, told The Bookseller: "The books are not primers or surveys, but sophisticated 'takes' on a topic, and we allow the authors to express a point of view, while giving readers a really good way into a subject they may never have encountered before." Noted authorities in each field are commissioned to write an overview of no more than 200 pages.
YouTube is full of Ukulele Girls (and Guys) today, but where would they be without the original "Ukulele Lady?"
May Singhi Breen (1895-1970) was a ukulele performer and teacher who helped popularize the Hawaiian instrument in the '20s and '30s. After receiving an unwanted ukulele as a gift, she tried to exchange it for a bathrobe. When the store wouldn't take it back, she decided to learn to play it instead.
On Tuesday, December 21, the Central Library will have a new home for Reference Services.
Ever since the new Michael Graves-designed Central Library opened in 1995, the Reference Services department has been located on Level 1. Today that changed with the grand opening of the new Reference Room on Level 3.
The new space features more natural light, and a better system of shelving to house the impressive collection of reference materials. A new desk will greet customers as they enter the space, and reference librarians will staff the desk to handle questions and collection inquiries for all of our Reference Services collections.