Reference Tools = Dictionaries, Encyclopedia, Literary Biographies... These days everyone seems to use Wikipedia - I know I do - but then you want to double check your facts in an authoritative reference tool. You may have noticed that the English language reference section of the library is now very small. Many of the old and trusted reference tools are now online.
The Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan - the 9 volume set in English - used to be the best source for coming up to speed on various aspects of Japanese culture. It is now sadly out of date, but it really hasn't been replaced. It is available in print in the Reference Dept. DS805 .K633 1983
If you don't mind trying to navigate the Japanese, you can use the online version through Japan Knowledge. Here is a guide to help you get to it.