Reference Services Policy
- Reference Service is available to all persons who reside within the jurisdictional boundaries of the library regardless of the age, race, sex, or social or economic status of the patron.
- Reference materials are available for use in the library by everyone, regardless of the age, race, sex, or social or economic status of the patron.
- Reference materials do not circulate and are to remain inside the library at all times.
- Staff trained to provide reference service are available during most hours the library is open. If staff trained in reference service are not available, the staff that are present may relay the reference question to trained staff, to be answered upon their return.
- Staff treat all questions with equal respect.
- Reference service is provided in response to all forms of inquiry including but not limited to the telephone, telefacsimile, and email.
- Reference questions that cannot be answered with on-site resources are referred to another agency. Such referrals are verified and/or mediated by library staff.
- Staff may provide information to patrons, but they are barred from giving medical, legal or general advice to patrons.
- Staff may provide information that may be used in homework assignments, but they are bound from answering assigned questions or directly assisting with homework or school projects. Staff may refuse assistance if they feel that they are unethically assisting students.
- While the staff would very much enjoy being able to answer all questions, there may be times that they are unable to devote an excessive amount of time to the needs of one patron or one group of patrons. In such a situation, staff may refer patrons to the resources that they may use independently to answer their questions.
- All requests for information receive an answer or status report within one working day.
- The needs of the library users are treated with respect. Names of users and the transactions that occur between users and the reference staff are confidential and not discusses outside a professional context.
- The library adopts and adheres to the ALA Code of Ethics.
Copies of this reference policy and the ALA Code of Ethics are available for patrons on the library’s website: www.columbialibrary.org.
Reference Services Policy – Approved 10/13/09