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2.7 REFERENCE SERVICE POLICY
The following guidelines should be used by Reference Department staff in providing answers and materials for ready-reference and general research questions taken in person, by telephone, by mail, or submitted electronically.
The primary role of the Reference Staff is to assist patrons with their information searches and to educate them in the location and use of all types of reference resources. While assistance will be provided, patrons should not expect Reference Staff to do their work for them. Depending on desk coverage, staff may allow as much as 15 minutes assisting a patron before returning to the Reference Desk to be available to assist other patrons. Patrons are not permitted to purchase dedicated staff time for reference or research services; please see the Library's Gift and Donation Policy (Policy 4.3) for additional details.
All reference transactions should be treated with confidentiality, and the patron's right to privacy must be ensured. All information requests should be discussed only in a professional manner.
Patrons of all ages will be provided correct answers or referrals to their reference requests as soon as possible. If an answer cannot be provided within twenty-four hours, the patron will be informed of the status of their request.
While priority is given to walk-in patrons, telephone and electronic requests will be answered as quickly as possible. If "same day" service cannot be provided, the patron will be informed.
Locating Materials and Resources
Whenever possible, answers will first be sought using the resources available within the Chelmsford Library, whether print or electronic. The Reference Staff will also use the resources available through the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC) and the Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System (NMRLS). If an answer cannot be provided immediately using local resources, appropriate print or electronic materials will be requested on the patron's behalf.
Every effort will be made to provide patrons with a source for an answer, where appropriate. If a patron is unable to visit the Library, the staff should offer to mail, fax or email a copy of the material or a bibliography of the resources used (reproduction and/or shipping costs may apply).
Loaning of Reference Materials
Reference material will not leave the building. Material in this area is considered to be important for ready access to patrons, and may consist of irreplaceable local history items. Allowing reference items to circulate defeats the purpose of having a separate section for reference use. Patrons are provided the opportunity to photocopy if they need to have the printed material in hand.
Types of Questions
The Reference Staff strives to provide professional and complete answers to any type of question asked at the Reference Desk. In addition to general reference questions, the following types of questions receive special treatment:
Approved by the Library Trustees, April 2009
©2006 Chelmsford Public Library