It’s a familiar undertaking for academics, bookworms and the occasionally curious: Furiously scanning the library shelves, lugging out a thick, dusty volume, and thumbing through the pages for that much-sought-after entry.
But the act of reaching for that almanac, encyclopedia or dictionary in a local library may soon become a thing of the past, as several Toronto libraries move to reduce their print reference collections.
Susan Caron, manager of collection development for the Toronto Public Library, says the library’s physical collection of reference books has been getting smaller since many reference titles discontinue their print editions for online versions.
“We’re moving to more online, more electronic resources as the titles shift from print to electronic,” she said.
Dana Zboch, a librarian at the Locke branch library on Yonge Street near Lawrence Avenue, added: “We’ve gotten rid of a lot of reference books at the community libraries.
In the northern district, we’ve reduced our collection behind the desk because it’s so expensive, and a lot of it is online.”
She said the most heavily used reference books are high school textbooks and prescription drug indexes.