Dolton Public Library District

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Reference Services

The place to go for information assistance

The purpose of the Reference Department at the Dolton Public Library is to correctly answer questions submitted by the public and to assist patrons in using the resources of the library.

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Purpose of the Reference Policy

The purpose of this policy is to assure that the above goal is achieved.  Below is a list of which services will be provided and where necessary, any limitations that must be placed on services.

Any limitations placed on specific services will be for the purpose of better achieving the larger goal of the Reference Department and equitably serving all patrons.

Policies

Reference services and access to the entire reference collection will be provided to patrons of all ages.  Reference service will be provided only by trained reference staff during all hours that the library is open.

Reference service will be provided in response to all forms of inquiry, including telephone and mail.  The source in which the answer is located will always be quoted in the case of a telephone or mail inquiry.

When a reference question cannot be answered by on-site resources, the following will be utilized:

  • Local and other resources
  • RAILS Interlibrary Loan
  • RAILS Reference Service
  • Other libraries

It is the policy of the Reference Department to treat all questions equally.  However, if a particular question is part of a homework assignment, and if, in the opinions of the librarian, simply answering the question would be destructive to the purpose of the assignment, the librarian will guide the student in the use of library resources so that the student can find the answer for him or herself.

In the interest of accuracy and to better serve our walk-in patrons, librarians will not answer telephone questions requiring extensive research.  Patrons with such questions will be encouraged to come to the library where they can be assisted in their research.

Priority will be given to walk-in patrons over telephone patrons.  If a telephone question cannot be answered in a few minutes and other patrons are waiting at the desk, the caller may be asked if he or she can be called back later.

Contest questions will be treated the same as all other questions.  They will not be given any special priority.

In the interest of efficiency, the Reference Department cannot honor any request that would require establishing a paper file; e.g., giving away reference materials as they become obsolete or holding interlibrary loan request for submission at a future date.

Reference service will be provided free of charge to the public.  The only exception will be when the library incurs an expense as in the case of photocopies, genealogy microfilm, or database searches; the charge will then be passed along to the patrons.

All patrons will be treated impartially and their questions and concerns will be treated confidentially.

Reference services will be evaluated in even-numbered years.  Reference statistics will be reported to the board monthly and the Reference Department will participate in the annual evaluation of all library services using the American Library Association's Output Measures.

This Reference Policy will be reviewed and updated in odd-numbered years.

This Reference Policy will be made available to the public upon request.