Library Reference Activities for the Kids

Reinforcing Reference SkillsReinforcing Reference Skills
Activities that go beyond the encyclopedia

A librarian pal of mine found this gem in the supposed “professional collection” as she cleaned out a cubicle for a new employee. Obviously no one had touched this in years, given the amount of dust and grime present. This one was catalogued and sat around for decades, unused.

Let me go back and harp on using a shelf list. Your system should allow you to dump your catalog into some kind of report. Do not run the shelf list for the entire library. Pick collections carefully. Even the largest libraries can break out collections into small chunks. Reorganize your list of books by date (oldest to newest) and take a look. Even this one small activity can yield some surprising results. (By the way, if you do this, please send us some pictures of any of your ridiculous finds.)

Happy National Library Week and stay well,


reference activity sheet

library activity sheet


  1. Because we were a very specialized library we rarely weeded. Even items in poor condition were routinely sent to preservation instead of being tossed.

    We did make constant use of the shelf list. Because curators had access to the library when we were closed, books often got returned to the wrong place instead of being put on the shelving cart. Also, cleaning staff were likely to grab a handful of books, hit them with a dust rag and reshelve them upside down. We were closed on Tuesdays and, every Tuesday afternoon, the shelf list came out and we got good exercise climbing ladders and crawling along low shelves.

  2. That cover resembles something I saw through a microscope in high school biology class.


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