Global Warming: Resources to Sustain a Collection

By Brush, Denise A. | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Global Warming: Resources to Sustain a Collection


Brush, Denise A., Reference & User Services Quarterly


Reduce, reuse, recycle: It's the simple mantra of a movement to help save the earth. While most of us have installed eco-efficient light bulbs and neatly bundle our old newspapers for weekly pickup, crafting environmental collections that serve the needs of our patrons is often a haphazard process at best. Global warming is a hot topic for publishers, so much so that it is hard to separate the important, well-researched, and useful books from all the noise surrounding the issue. Denise A. Brush, subject librarian for science and engineering at Rowan University Libraries in Glassboro, New Jersey, is well qualified to suggest a strategy for developing a solid collection in this area of environmental studies. While earning her BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT, she worked for the late climatologist Helmut Landsberg at the University of Maryland's Department of Meteorology.. A public services librarian, she earned her library degree from Drexel University in 2004 and is a reviewer for Science Books & Films.--Editor

While the rest of the world has recognized the reality of global warming since the 1990s, the United States has not taken it seriously until very recently. The 2008 presidential election was the first time that both major party candidates campaigned on the need for the United States to address global warming.

The 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to former vice president A1 Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change." (1) The IPCC, in their April 2007 report, stated that there is a 90 percent probability that the measured increase in global temperatures in the past three decades was caused by greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere since 1950 by humans. (2) The report described the many climate changes that have already occurred and their consequences for communities and ecosystems, making it clear that global climate change is happening, whether it is man-made or natural.

According to columnist Gregg Easterbrook of the New York Times, there is now a consensus among American scientists that global warming is real:

   The American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological
   Society in 2003 both declared that signs
   of global warming had become compelling. In 2004
   the American Association for the Advancement of Science
   said that there was no longer any "substantive
   disagreement in the scientific community" that artificial
   global warming is happening. In 2005, the National
   Academy of Sciences joined the science academies of
   Britain, China, Germany, Japan and other nations in a
   joint statement saying, "There is now strong evidence
   that significant global warming is occurring." (3)

This is a time when libraries can provide a vital educational service. The following bibliography recommends books, films, reference works, journals, scholarly articles, databases, and websites to help students, faculty, and the public learn about global warming.

BOOKS

Global warming is a field that is changing extremely rapidly as new research results come to light. Except for some key historical books identified below, purchases of books on global warming should focus exclusively on the past few years. University libraries should also consider reviewing and updating their collections on renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels, and hydrogen power.

Alley, Richard B. The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and our Future. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Pr., 2002 (ISBN: 978-0-691-10296-2).

Penn State geology professor Richard Alley explains how ice cores can tell the story of past climates hundreds of millions of years ago, and also provide valuable insight into what the future could bring. This older book remains relevant because it describes a scientific methodology that continues to play a big part in climate science. …

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