Most libraries keep their hardcopy reference sources separate from their main collections. In Haselwood Library on the Bremerton campus the Reference Collection is located next to the first floor reading room in the northeast corner of the building.
Reference sources are designed for quick consultation, rather than cover-to-cover reading. Reference works may give you an overview and introduction to your area of interest and my help you narrow down your topic. They provide facts, statistics, and concise information about a particular topic. They also provide background information – essential when you are new to a topic. In addition, most reference sources will point to other sources of information.
Reference sources can be direct or indirect. Direct sources provide the information in such a way that it is not necessary to consult another source. Examples of direct sources are encyclopedia, atlases, dictionaries, and gazetteers. Indirect sources do not contain the actual information but rather they list the titles of books, articles, and other information sources that do contain the information. Examples of indirect sources include indexes, bibliographies, and abstracts.
Use the Library Catalog to search for reference books. Do an Advanced Search and select Reference Books from the Location pull-down menu to limit your results.