Reference Planning Policy

Responsibility for reference service

All staff of the LPPL have received training in offering subject assistance to library patrons. All staff may attempt to answer questions and requests for information from any library patron, regardless of age.

Type of service offered

Library staff will attempt to answer questions as fully as possible, but must keep in mind the needs of all patrons using the library. If a question proves to be very time-consuming (requiring more than 15 minutes to answer), the library patron may have to be called back later with the answer.

The LPPL welcomes all questions from all patrons and will attempt to answer any question, and will do so without passing judgment on the nature of the question.

Excluded questions

School-related questions will be answered in the same manner as all reference questions.

Only simple answers can be provided for prize contest questions.

In the course of reference duty, a staff member may be asked to provide information from medical, legal, census or tax sources. Library staff will do so readily, but must not offer any interpretation of the information provided.

Telephone, fax requests and email requests

Requests received by telephone, fax or in writing are treated as all other requests, but if the library is busy, priority will be given to the needs of patrons who have come into the library. Telephone questions will then be answered when time permits. The patron will need to be called back on the principle of first come-first served, giving a realistic estimate of how long it might take to address the question.

Development of the reference collection

The Director is responsible for developing and maintaining the reference collection appropriate to the needs of the community. He/she may delegate tasks to other staff members, as appropriate.

Questions which the library staff was unable to answer will be noted. The Director will peruse these questions from time to time, to assist in selecting materials for the library.

Unanswered questions

Questions for which no answer or material has been found in the LPPL collection, will be referred to the appropriate agency by the library staff (if such an agency is known), or will become an interlibrary loan request.

If time permits, staff may contact the agency for the patron. This includes making long distance calls on a patron’s behalf. If time does not allow this, the name of the organization, as well as information allowing the patrons to directly contact the agency will be supplied if possible.

Reference statistics

Accurate statistics regarding service to patrons should be recorded in the Census notebook.

Circulation of reference material

Reference questions may be answered using the entire collection of the library. However, some material will be designated for use in the library only. Such material normally does not circulate. In exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of the senior staff member on duty, a special one- or two-day loan may be granted.