Reference and Information Services
An Introduction, 6th Edition
by Melissa A. Wong and Laura Saunders, Editors
May 2020, 748pp, 7x10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6883-2
$90, £67, 78€, A122
Paperback: 978-1-4408-7504-5
$75, £56, 65€, A102
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6884-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

This new edition of the classic text Reference and Information Services has been thoroughly updated to reflect current information in the field.

This revised and updated sixth edition of Reference and Information Services continues the book’s rich tradition, covering all phases of reference and information services with less emphasis on print and more emphasis on strategies and scenarios.

Reference and Information Services is the go-to textbook for MSLIS and i-School courses on reference services and related topics. It is also a helpful handbook for practitioners. Authors include LIS faculty and professionals who have relevant degrees in their areas and who have published extensively on their topics.

The first half of the book provides an overview of reference services and techniques for service provision, including the reference interview, ethics, instruction, evaluation and assessment, and services to diverse populations including children. This part of the book establishes a foundation of knowledge on reference service and frames each topic with ethical and social justice perspectives.

The second part of the book offers an overview of the information life cycle and dissemination of information, followed by an in-depth examination of information sources by type—including dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes, and abstracts—as well as by broad subject areas including government, statistics and data, health, and legal information. This second part introduces the tools and resources that reference professionals use to provide the services described in the first half of the text.


  • Reference and Information Services is a recognized textbook for information retrieval courses and updates the previous edition
  • Editors and contributors are experts in the field
  • Activity boxes engage readers and invite them to reflect on what they are learning and to practice skills through real-life exercises
  • Conscious integration of critical theory and social justice perspectives offers critical reflection on the standards and practices of the field and encourages readers to consider alternate perspectives
Melissa A. Wong has been an online instructor for the University of Illinois since 2001, teaching courses in reference, instruction, management, and academic librarianship. Previously, she worked as an academic librarian for 14 years, including six years at the University of Southern California and eight years as library director at Marymount College Palos Verdes. She earned her master's degree in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Laura Saunders is associate professor at Simmons University School of Library and Information Science, teaching in the areas of reference, instruction, and academic libraries. Prior to earning her PhD, she worked as an academic reference librarian and in circulation at a public library. She earned her master's of library and information science and her PhD at Simmons University.


"Essential reading for all librarians, particularly those with a concentration in reference and bibliographic instruction."—Library Journal Starred Review, August 1, 2020

"This thorough overview goes into working in a reference department in a variety of different types of libraries. Though the previous edition is only four years old, this sixth edition is a notable and useful upgrade because of its focus on serving diverse populations."—Booklist Online, October 23, 2020

"Reference is alive and well, which is demonstrated by this collection of essays! The editors have included an impressive list of authors who are experts in reference service practice and research. The chapters range from an overview of sources and their uses to the history, ethics, management, evaluation, and delivery of reference services to diverse populations. The final chapter on creating the future of reference service is provocative and inspiring."—Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., Director of Library Trends and User Research, OCLC Research

"What a pleasure to see the 6th edition of Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. Embracing recent developments in technology and an increasing social consciousness, this edition makes a wise and comprehensive contribution to today's reference service. As someone engaged in reference and information literacy for over 30 years, I strongly recommend it to LIS students and practicing librarians."—William Badke, Associate Librarian, Trinity Western University, British Columbia, Canada

"A well-thumbed edition of this book sits on the shelves of most library workers for good reason: few titles offer the breadth and depth of coverage of information sources and their use. It is equally hard to keep such content up to date, a task achieved admirably by Wong and Saunders. The integration of critical perspectives in the field; a focus on the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in reference services; and a reckoning with the ways changes in scholarly communication shape library work bring this classic into the present."—Emily Drabinski, Critical Pedagogy Librarian, the Graduate Center, City University of New York

"This is a welcome update to a core professional resource. Discussions of diversity and services to diverse populations have been elevated and are threaded throughout the book, better representing the current realities of librarianship. This book will prepare library workers to provide culturally-responsive reference services in complex, technology-rich environments."—Meredith Farkas, Librarian, Portland Community College, and columnist, American Libraries

Library and Information Science Text Series

Covering essential LIS skills and areas of study, Libraries Unlimited Library and Information Science Textbook Series brings you trusted, state-of-the-art resources from top faculty to help prepare and teach a wide variety of LIS courses. Specifically designed for full- and part-time faculty and students, these books are also solid professional resources for LIS practitioners.
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