Each of the reading rooms from which you can request materials from the General Collections has its own reference collection.
These contain works such as bibliographies, encyclopedias, biographical sources, dictionaries, and handbooks that may
lead to other materials in the stacks
give background information
answer quick reference questions
The seventy-thousand-volume Main Reading Room reference collection contains numerous works to assist researchers of American
women's history, and other reading rooms also hold volumes related to this subject. For women scientists, visit the Science
Reference Section; for women-owned businesses, consult titles in the Business Reference Section; or for ship passenger lists
go to the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room. Often duplicate copies of reference works held by specialized reading
rooms—for example, some books on women composers, photographers, or lawyers—are also shelved in the Main Reading Room. An
advantage to a reference collection is that you can go to the shelf in the reading room and retrieve works from it yourself.
To determine whether a title is in a reference collection, examine the complete record in the online catalog. Abbreviations
such as MRR Alc (Main Reading Room alcove), MicRR (Microform Reading Room), or SciRR (Science Reading Room), which indicate
reference assignments, are explained in the list of abbreviations.