Tag Archives: reference books

The Farmer’s Handbook of Explosives

Just when I thought that I’d never find a classic old library book more entertaining than How to Be Happy While Single, the good people in Reference Services handed me this Dupont company gem – The Farmer’s Handbook of Explosives


It looks so harmless.

You won’t find it in our circulating collection or even in our catalog, because it’s one of those great old reference books that (gasp!) fell through the cracks – it doesn’t even have a barcode.

It’s pretty rare, too. According to WorldCat (the grand catalog of library catalogs), there are only two more known copies of this 1910 edition out there in libraryland. Of course, there could be others in private collections, or perhaps in your great-grandfather’s attic.

I didn’t read our copy from cover to cover, as it’s in serious need of preservation work. But I scanned a few pages and stopped to enjoy the lovely old photographs of explosions before returning the book to its caretakers.   

Remember, DON’T operate blasting machines half-heartedly. That’s sound advice in any age.  

 – Amy, still not writing about Film or Audio


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Fictional Reference Books for Most Library Collections

Ever wish you could add fictional reference books to your library’s reference collection? If I could, this is what I would add:

The Encyclopedia Galactica — What self-respecting librarian wouldn’t want access to Isaac Asimov’s immense encyclopedia containing all the knowledge of futuristic civilizations?

Handbook for the Recently Deceased — Libraries shouldn’t discriminate against the deceased, so every reference collection should carry a copy of this guide from Beetlejuice.

The Book of the Brothers — In George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, this massive tome collects the history of every knight who’s ever served in the much vaunted Kingsguard, the bodyguards of the king of Westeros. This one comes complete with a bleached white leather cover and gold hinges — think your library’s budget could handle it?

Tobin’s Spirit Guide — A ghost identification tool used by the Ghostbusters that could be useful to local ghosthunting organizations.

The Slayer’s Handbook — This is the guide to vampire slaying in one of the finest television shows ever produced, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maybe it would come with a complimentary subscription to Demons, Demons, Demons, a database featured in Buffy’s spinoff show, Angel.

What fictional reference books would you add to a library collection?



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