Reference Services Policy Statement
Table of Contents
- Service Philosophy
- Purpose of Policy Statement
- Position Statements
- Goal of Reference Services
- Specific Objectives of Reference Services
- Service to Non-University Patrons
- Services for Persons with Disabilities
- Types of Reference Service
- Restrictions of Library Service
- Library Instruction and Orientation Service
The mission of the Beryl Ivey Library states:
The Beryl Ivey Library provides excellent informational services, access to resources and space for research and study to meet the educational needs of the Brescia University College community.
Reference service at Brescia University College is one of the most vital and visible expressions of the Library's purpose and mission and is key to the Library's service roles: to serve as a centre for information, formal education, research and independent learning. In addition, since more users are accessing the Library from home or office, which the Library is encouraging, it is imperative that reference services address this trend.
The purpose of this policy statement is to provide the library staff with a compendium of information policies that promote a uniform standard of service of the highest possible quality consistent with available resources.
The statement is designed both to orient new staff members and to be an information resource for more experienced staff.
The statement may be made available to any library patron if she/he has a question concerning the service policy of the Library.
The Public Services Librarian will endeavour to review the statement biannually for currency, accuracy and completeness. Individual changes will be made throughout the year as the need arises.
The Library subscribes to the Canadian Library Association's Code of Ethics, and Statement on Intellectual Freedom. The Library incorporates the American Library Assocation's Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians and Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers.
The general service goal of the Library is to meet the information/research needs of library users (faculty, students, staff and other patrons) accurately, efficiently, and pleasantly. An additional goal is to provide instruction so that patrons may become more independent in their use of information resources.
- It is the policy of the Library to consider each individual information query to be of equal merit regardless of the age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference or English language proficiency of the library patron. The Library's intention is to accord equal attention and effort to each inquiry, although the time spent by staff on question may vary in response to the perceived needs of the patron, the information resources (both staff and collections) available and the method of receipt of the inquiry. There are some limits to service for non-university patrons (see appropriate section below).
- To maintain an up-to-date, relevant and readily accessible working collection of reference materials, (electronic and paper) relating primarily to the College's programs. The reference collection includes general and research-oriented dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, indexes, directories, course reserves and handbooks.
- To give appropriate reference assistance to the Library's clientele in real-time (i.e., telephone, in-person). In helping patrons, the reference staff determine the need of the patron, the exact information requested and try to find sources appropriate to the level of knowledge and interest of the patron. This service is provided regardless of whether the patron has come to the library, telephoned or emailed a query.
- To provide instruction in Library use by the most effective means and with suitable cooperation with other College departments.
- To provide instruction in appropriate research methodologies or approaches when needed.
- To provide access to remote bibliographic and full-text databases.
- To actively publicize the scope, nature, and availability of the information services we offer. We shall employ those media most effective in reaching our entire clientele or selected segments of that clientele.
- To facilitate access to library materials which are not available in the Library.
- To create an environment for and a tradition of good service within the Library and to promote the effective utilization of the staff and materials at our disposal.
- To cooperate with other Libraries to provide the information requested by patrons.
Access to the Library building and hard-copy collections will be available to all who require it, whether or not they are members of the College community. Access to electronic databases, indices, etc. (whether provided by Brescia, UWO or another affiliated College) is limited to the users specified in the licensing agreements of each resource. Use of the UWO Libraries proxy server (available from the Library catalogue) facilitates remote access to these resources.
Non-Brescia University College patrons may be eligible, at no cost, for a Guest Borrowers Card that will allow them to borrow material from the University of Western Ontario Affiliated College Libraries.
No distinction is made between College and non-College patrons when giving routine reference service, but priority will be given to Brescia University College patrons if funding, space or staffing is inadequate to meet demands for reference service either at any given time or over a prolonged time.
As a general rule, patrons with time-consuming inquiries who are not affiliated with the College, maybe be referred to public libraries or their own organizations, if appropriate. In cases where the Brescia University College Library has special resources in staff or materials and the needs of the user seem to warrant it, assistance beyond the routine may be given.
It is the mission of the Brescia University College Library to provide equal access to information to all who request it. For persons who are disabled, the Library will make special provisions insofar as feasible to permit the patrons to examine sources and conduct research.
- Assistance in finding the answer to specific reference questions.
- Assistance in developing research strategies for reports, term papers, theses, and dissertations.
- Instruction in the use of the Library and its resources.
- Verification of Library holdings and referral to institutions which have materials that this Library lacks.
- Orientation to the Library through tours, tutorial sessions, subject specific workshops, etc.
- Compilation and production of various instructional aids.
- In-depth reference appointments for patrons engaged in research based endeavors.
- Interpretation of Material
Reference staff do not interpret information, such as legal, medical, financial, statistical information or class assignments.
- Recommendations Regarding Library Patrons' Purchases of Sources
Reference staff refer patrons to standard reviews of the work in questions and advise the patron to examine the library copy, if available; generally, staff members do not make recommendations regarding such purchases.
- Appraisal of Books and Artifacts
Reference staff do not appraise the private property of patrons. Patrons are advised to consult a professional appraiser, but specific appraisers are not recommended.
- Genealogical Questions
Genealogical searches are not undertaken by reference staff. Catalogue assistance and help locating standard reference sources are offered. Genealogical questions generally are referred to the Public Archives of Ontario and the London Public Library.
The reference staff do not normally compile or check bibliographies. Staff do assist patrons in the use of bibliographical tools.
- Lending Reference Materials
Reference materials generally do not circulate, however in some circumstances where special copying or a class presentation warrant, special loans of two hours may be issued by the Circulation Service staff.
- Class Assignments
Staff members help patrons locate information for class assignments. When a class assignment creates a concern, the Public Services Librarian is responsible for seeing that the instructor is contacted about the present and possible future class assignments. The Public Services Librarian will also give background information to reference staff to efficiently handle assignment related queries.
As with in-house patrons, many factors enter into decisions concerning the amount of service that can be given to secondary or non-university patronss, and judgment must be exercised. If unsure, the reference staff should consult the Public Services Librarian.
Library staff orient new students to the facilities, collection and services on a walking tour of the library. Faculty can arrange for an orientation tour through the Public Services Librarian.
Information Skills Workshops
These workshops introduce students to the research process and to the use of online research tools and online databases such as Proquest Research Library. Workshop dates and times are posted in the Brescia University College Academic Guide, the Student Services Centre and on the Library reference desk. Bookings may be required.
Staff also provide subject or course-related orientations on request. Faculty are encouraged to contact the Public Services Librarian to arrange special library instruction for their students.