October 27, 2009

When the first edition of Garner's Modern American Usage was published in 1998, it quickly became a standard guide.
The third edition continues to hack through the thickets of grammar, word choice, punctuation, and pronunciation. If it's unclear to you whether home in or hone in is correct, or you are certain that impact is not really a verb ("Reserve impact for noun uses and impacted for wisdom teeth."), or you're bemused by the use of "I could care less" by people who mean the opposite, Garner's will both resolve your doubts and validate your convictions.

New to this edition is a "Language Change Index," which measures five stages of change, from the emergence of a new form that is generally considered a mistake, to universal acceptance; hone in for home in is currently at stage three. A boon to everyone who still thinks correct usage matters.

Indexed. 942p. $45 from Oxford University Press (978-019-538275-4)

Reflecting on Reference

Two very useful texts for reference librarians are now available in second editions. Those of us with experience on a reference desk know that a seemingly simple question often requires much more than a simple answer.

In Conducting the Reference Interview, Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Kirsti Nilsen, and Marie L. Radford bring together the latest research on reference transactions and turn it into a practical guide.

Useful chapters on determining what a patron is really looking for and dealing with "special contexts" such as children and English language learners are accompanied by expanded coverage of virtual reference and readers' advisory. This would be an excellent manual for personal development as well as for training.

Indexed. 225p. PBK. $75 from Neal-Schuman (978-1 55570-655-5)

Although Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath devote a chapter to the reference interview in Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: An Introduction,their emphasis is more on finding. They cover basic search techniques, and then delve into resource options for answering particular types of questions. They also discuss the development and management of reference collections and services. In a section on "special topics," Mary K. Chelton contributes chapters on readers' advisory and service to children and young adults. The fact that this second edition comes just three years after the first is an indication of how fast reference is changing.

Indexed. 367p. PBK.$69.95 from Neal-Schuman (978-1-55570-655-5)

What's Cooking?

Julia Child, move over-the King County (Wash.) Library Foundation has served up a collection called Literary Feast: The Famous Authors Cookbook. Among the recipes are an eggplant Parmesan from David Baldacci, a fruit cake from Alexander McCall Smith, and an Italian sponge cake from Adriana Trigiani. And let's not forget Nancy Pearl's drop scones.

Accompanying each recipe is a brief author profile and list of published works. Sometimes there is also backstory about the recipe. Many of the recipes have a regional flavor, since most of the authors hail from the Pacific Northwest. Bon appetit!

193p. PBK. $22.95 from Classic Day Publishing (978-1-59849-066-4)

New from ALA

Here are two titles designed to help libraries-in particular public libraries-enhance and communicate value.

In Inside, Outside, and Online: Building Your Library Community, Chrystie Hill provides a theoretical framework and model for libraries to build communities by doing a better job of connecting outside the library and online. Each step in this transformation, from "assess" to "sustain," is supported by reports from the front lines.

Indexed. 192p. PBK, $48 (978-0-8389-0987-4)

Also bolstered by examples from the field is The Library PR Handbook: High-Impact Communications.

ALA Public Information Office Director Mark R. Gould has assembled a team of experts to offer practical ideas for PR strategies ranging from partnering with schools to hosting cooking programs.

Indexed. 113p. PBK, $48 (978-0-8389-1002-3)


Mary Ellen Quinn is editor of ALA Booklist’s Reference Books Bulletin.