Favorite Handy Reference Book: People, Places, and Things
When patrons come to me at the reference desk, there’s one book I readily pull out to consult. It’s not a replacement for checking the catalog but it’s a helpful starting point for patrons looking for a particular topic. This handy reference book is titled People, Places, and Things, a reference book once published by OCLC.
People, Places, & Things is a reference tool listing popular LCSH headings in alphabetical order with corresponding Dewey call numbers. (I found a description of the book on page 4 in a 2003 newsletter by OCLC) Depending on the topic you’re looking up, there may be more than one Dewey number assigned to it.
The book doesn’t list every topic patrons ask at the desk but it’s still useful. Sometimes I have to think of another term for a subject if I can’t find it listed. If it’s still not there after looking it up, I’ll consult the catalog. At times the book been a back up for looking up call numbers when our catalog was offline.
I discovered People, Places, & Things when I first started 5 years ago. It was one of several reference resources we kept on the History-Biography reference desk. (The copyright date is 2001 on the copy we have) Since then this book has been invaluable to me.
When I worked in our Popular Library Division on the first floor, I continued to use this reference resource because patrons frequently came to our reading room first. Patrons would tell me what subject area they needed; I’d look it up in the book and write down the Dewey number. With that in hand, they could locate what they needed in the other reading rooms. When I returned to non-fiction reference, People, Places, & Things came along too. It’s worked well for me and a great tool.
School will be starting August 27th in DC–I’ll be ready!
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