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Goshen Public Library and Historical Society

Across the Reference Desk

by Fran O'Gorman

April 19, 2000


Winter doldrums got you down? Thoughts of vacations and new vistas are a great cure. So then where else would one research a great vacation than at the library?

Vacation and travel info can take a variety of forms. One most commonly thinks first of books. Browsing the shelves, one will find that from the 914 point on, it's like turning the globe. The sequence of country travel guides is as follows: 914 for Europe, 915 for Asia and the East, 916 for Africa, 917 for North and Central America including the U.S. and 918 for South America. There are various types of guidebooks also. From the picture-laden Insight Guides to the Off the Beaten Path series or the more directory-oriented Mobil and Fodor's series, each has a different slant and format, so within each area there are yet more choices. There is also a Traveller's History of... series on specific countries worth noting. Please don't hesitate to ask at the reference desk so that we can show you all of these resources.

Our travel videos (and we have quite a few) are in the instructional video area and are shelved according to the same Dewey numbers as their book counterparts. We have the wonderful Rick Steves' Travel the World series familiar to PBS fans and an especially good selection of videos relating to New England, National Parks and Alaska. The enhanced visual experience a video can provide gives this format a particular edge and is well worth a look.

Details for the trip can be found in other areas, like directories for Bed and Breakfasts in 647.94, or 796.54 for campground directories (both in reference and circulating). Web sites like www.worldclimate.com give typical climate data for areas, if you're basing your choice of trip destination on its climate. Another detail can be obtained at www.xe.net/currency which is a handy currency converter. Also on the Internet are government warning sites, such as travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html. This and many other useful travel sites are bookmarked on all our public access computers in the library.

In our magazine area, we have National Geographic Traveler, Travel Holiday, Travel Smart, and even Hudson Valley which is great for the day tripper. Our vertical file contains a treasure trove of travel info especially for the cross country traveler.

Researching travel info can spare embarrassment. For example: in Vienna, pointing a finger to find a waiter is normal, but in nearby Brussels it is considered rude. Where would you learn this? The Do's and Taboos Around the World, which is new in Reference (Ref 395.52 DOS), provides rules of multicultural etiquette. Webofculture.com is a good Internet source that provides this sort of information also.

Obtaining high quality unbiased travel information can improve your vacation immensely, and when it comes to information, the library is definitely the best place to obtain it.