I. Reference Service
Reference Service is provided by the Reference staff with guidance from
the Reference Mission Statement and Goals, and vision from the Reference
and Information Services Librarian.
A. Mission Statement
The mission of the Reference Department is to support the missions
of the University and the Stewart Library. Within this structure it
is the mission of Reference and Information Services to facilitate -
with the highest possible degree of excellence - access to the informational
content of the Stewart Library collections, the collections of other
libraries, and additional information sources. Reference and Information
Services supports the University's instructional program through quality
informal instruction at the reference desk.
GOAL #1 Continuously upgrading information access;
Reference and Informational Services shall continuously endeavor to be
informed of all new media that may enhance patron access to information
and systematically evaluate those media for their appropriateness in accessing
Stewart Library collections and the collections of other libraries.
GOAL #2 Continuously improving one-to-one service;
The reference and information services staff are committed to continuously
improving the success of, and patron satisfaction with, the quality
of direct personal service at the reference desk.
GOAL #3 Continuously teaching the patrons to help themselves.
Whenever possible, the reference staff will provide thoughtful guidance
in the pursuit of information, making reference service a learning experience,
rather than just expediently providing the information.
C. Five Year Vision
GOAL #1 Continuously upgrading information access;
GOAL #2 Continuously improving one-to-one service;
1. Continuous review of the Reference Collection
to insure the resources there are serving the curriculum and research
needs of the WSU community with the most current and accurate books
or media available.
a. In conjunction with the Automation Team,
assess the benefits of various compact disk services - which should
include technologies distributed as part of the Government Printing
Office depository program - in relationship to present hard copy
services, or present compact disk services.
b. Integration of specifically selected
government documents - according to a list of specific criteria
- into the Reference Collection.
2. Annual review and update of the Government
Documents Acquisiton Profile to better serve the curriculum and research
needs of the WSU community.
3. Develop an awareness of the Reference and Information
needs of the physically challenged and continuously implement those
services identified in subpoints #1 and #2.
a. Begin and continue a dialog with the
Office for Services to the Physically Challenged
b. Through survey, or other instrument,
determine the reference needs of the physically challenged and the
best means of fulfilling those needs.
4. Database Searching Services
a. Develop - through training - a level
of comfort that enables reference staff to recognize when a Database
Search is appropriate and to comfortably suggest this alternative
b. To develop, implement and continuously
improve a Database Search Policy that recognizes the essential nature
of online information and promotes easy access to it.
- Enhance end-user search services. (see Goal #4, Continuously
teaching the patrons to help themselves.)
- Provide library subsidized database searches to faculty and
1. Methodically and continuously assess the
Reference and information needs of the WSU community.
2. Annual evaluation of reference service
3. Develop a staff person education program
a. Unobtrusive assessment by a peer group
- establish the baseline of present reference service quality
- demonstrate the continuous improvement of the service
b. Obtrusive assessment by reference patrons
- establish the baseline of present reference service quality
- demonstrate the continuous improvement of the service
a. Encourage ongoing reference staff education
- Regular in-house training
- WSU classes
- Professional opportunities
b. Implement a new staff training program
GOAL #3 Continuously teaching the patrons to help themselves.
1. Create a proactive learning environment that
enables students to identify, find, evaluate and use information for problem
solving and life-long learning.
D. Reference and Information Services Librarian
The Reference and Information Services Librarian provides vision, leadership
and direction for the Library's Reference & Informational Services
Program, which includes reference, government documents, online searches,
and general library tours. S/he has administrative responsibility for
R&IS and works closely with the R&IS Team and the University
Librarian to plan, develop, coordinate, and continuously improve the
quality of reference and information services. S/he also evaluates the
program to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of the
University Community and other relevant constituents.
II. Purpose of this Manual
A. General Statement
The purpose of this manual is to state guidelines for providing a uniform
standard of service of the highest quality consistent with available resources.
Specific policies and procedures are not designed to replace the good
judgment of trained personnel or to prescribe actions for every possible
- to orient and train new personnel
- to reveal and in some cases justify the basic philosophy of service
envisioned by public services personnel and the library administration
- to represent a written
standard against which direction and quality of service can be measured
relative to stated goals and philosophy
- to answer queries of library
personnel and patrons about the public service polices and procedures
of the library. Questions of policy should be referred to the head of
the unit charged with implementing that policy. Questions dealing with
library-wide policy should be referred to the Director of Information
A minimum of three complete and most recent copies of this manual shall
be kept, one in an area accessible to all public services personnel, one
in the office of the library administration, and a third in Archives for
permanent preservation. Additional copies may be made and distributed
D. Review and Revision
This manual shall be living document and subject to continual review
to insure that policies and practices reflect current needs and conditions.
The contents shall be reviewed annually by both public services committees
which will make recommendations for changes in the manual. Recommendations
of substantive changes will be distributed to all public services personnel
for input before final approval which must come from a majority vote of
the library faculty. Minor revisions may be made by the two committees
mentioned without higher approval.
The contents of this manual shall be preserved on computer storage to
facilitate revision. To prevent data loss, a backup copy on a separate
computer storage shall be kept and updated at the same time as the master
file. The latest revision date shall be printed at the bottom of each
III. Desk Manner
Much of the orientation and instruction is performed on a one-to-one
basis at service/information desks. Since the manner and attitude displayed
by the person in charge reflects directly on the image of the library
service as a whole, care should be taken to insure that the patron receives
the most courteous and accommodating service possible. The following guidelines
A. Patrons must be dealt with courteously and
never made to feel they are being treated condescendingly or that their
requests are stupid.
B. A patron's motives or purposes for requesting
material should never be challenged.
C. The goal is retrieval of information that
is complete and accurate. All available sources or methods should be
exhausted in helping a patron. In referring a patron to another area
within the library or to a department or service outside the library,
a call ahead should be made to assure that the patron's needs will be
met. Information service is a collaborative activity. Therefore, all
public service personnel with reference desk experience are on call
to help out with questions or staffing at the desk as unusual or urgent
needs dictate. Doubts about information correctness, for example, should
prompt a librarian to seek another opinion.
D. Throughout the retrieval process, the goal
is to educate patrons to help themselves whenever possible. However,
they should be encouraged to return for help if results are not satisfactory.
E. If information is simply not available,
patrons should never be sent away without being given some explanation
as to why the library cannot meet their needs.
F. Library personnel should be alert, interested,
and seek out patrons who appear to need assistance, in the spirit of
"the patron comes first." The patron should be recognized and greeted
early and never kept waiting, if possible. Service to patrons always
takes preference over any other activity at the desk.
G. It is library policy that a quiet environment
be maintained in the public study areas of the library. Persons acting
against library policies or a conducive study atmosphere should be approached
diplomatically, tactfully, and cordially in the spirit of soliciting
their cooperation. Related policies and regulations should be courteously
explained and the rationale behind them, if necessary. Any continued
opposition should be referred to proper authority. Every effort should
be made to avoid confrontation or embarrassment.
H. Absences from public desk areas should be
as brief as possible. If it is necessary to leave for more than a few
minutes and a replacement is not available, a sign giving direction
to patrons should be placed in a visible position on the desk until
the person in charge returns. Also during this absence, the telephone
should be keyed to route calls to another desk or office where patrons
may receive assistance in the meantime. As a courtesy, the person to
whom the calls are to be routed should be informed of the situation.
I. Messages providing the answers to recurring
questions, to difficult questions, or about materials being held for
users, etc. are to be left posted on the reference bulletin board for
other personnel on duty at the reference desk. Questions which cannot
be completely answered by a reference worker before he/she leaves a
shift of duty may either be passed on to on-duty workers to complete
or else handled to completion by the worker him/herself.
J. Lengthy or loud social conversations with
either patrons or colleagues should be avoided. Reference discussions
between patron and librarian should be carried out in a low or normal
voice, the volume depending on the proximity to occupied study areas.
K. When working alone and assisting a patron
away from the desk, every attempt should be made to keep the desk in
sight so that any patron waiting at the desk can be seen.
L. When the phone is ringing and several patrons
are waiting at the desk, the in house users should be served first.
M. When several patrons are waiting, they should
be served in order. The attempt should be made to help several users
concurrently by getting some started and assuring them that a return
contact will be made to check on progress after others have been helped.
N. Externally-produced library exercises are
understood to be class assignments prepared by instructors for the purpose
of acquainting students with library resources. In this case, the instructors
are non-library personnel. Any public services personnel identifying
such exercises which present difficulties for reference personnel, should
notify the chair of the Library Curriculum Services Committee.
O. A sign shall be in place to identify each
major collection and service area within public services. Similarly,
signs shall be used to indicate the sections and local peculiarities
of the card catalog.
P. Ethics - Every library employee engaged
in public service activities:
- has a responsibility to sustain the principles of the Library
Bill of Rights, should learn and faithfully execute the policies
of public services, and endeavor to change those policies which conflict
with the spirit of the Library
Bill of Rights.
- must protect the patron's right to privacy in the seeking and use
of acquired information.
- must avoid any possibility of personal financial gain at the expense
of the library.
- has an obligation to insure equality of opportunity and fair judgement
of competence in actions dealing with appointments, retentions, and
- is obligated when making appraisals of the qualifications of any
individual to report the facts clearly, accurately, and without prejudice.
- is under obligation to always take library user needs seriously
and treat these needs with respect. There should never by any discussion
of an individual user or group of users or of any transactions between
user an library employee outside of a professional context.
- No personal opinions should be expressed on a patron's query outside
of a professional context.
IV. Seminar Rooms
A. Seminar rooms are identified with a sign
adjacent to the door and are provided for the purpose of group study.
Individuals or groups who use one of the seminar rooms for other purposes
may be asked by any public service employee on duty to vacate the room
in order to provide the space for group study if no other seminar room
is available at the time.
B. These rooms are available on a first-come-first-served
basis unless officially reserved according to procedures outlined in
the following section.
C. In order to accommodate groups during periods
of high demand, groups desiring to use a seminar room on a regular basis,
or organized groups requiring a room for a special meeting, advance
reservations shall be made by any reference desk personnel on duty but
shall be recorded on the seminar room reservation calendar kept in the
binder behind the reference desk. In case of a dispute over occupancy,
users with advance reservations shall have priority over other users
for the room and time period recorded on the reservation calendar. A
maximum late period of fifteen minutes shall be allowed to parties having
a reservation, after which the reservation is considered forfeited,
and the reserved room reverts back to a first-come-first-served status.
No seminar room shall be reserved for longer than one quarter by any
one user group. A note on each door shall explain the reservation procedure,
and policy in general terms. The Stewart Library administration reserves
the right to preempt any seminar room reservation for its own purposes
as conditions may warrant.
D. No smoking, eating, or drinking is allowed
in seminar rooms.
E. All windows of each room must remain closed
at all times.
F. No library materials are to be left in seminar
G. Permission must be obtained from the chair
of the Reference Services Committee to use the classroom for purposes
other than library science course sessions.
V. Paging Requests
In consideration of building size and the lack of an electronic public
address system, requests to page library patrons, in general, will not
be honored. However, the person receiving the request should assess the
level of urgency and exercise personal judgment as to whether or not the
request should be honored. Since paging will require a person-by-person
search of the building, persons on desk duty should avoid leaving their
station by soliciting the aid of someone more available do the paging.
VI. Telephone Reference
The telephone is one of the most important. means of providing service
to, library users. Therefore, it is important that the guidelines be followed:
A. Treat the caller in a polite, accommodating,
and personal manner, identifying your area.
B. Do not leave a caller holding the line for
more than two to three minutes. If a search for an answer takes longer,
arrange to call the person back if the call is local. If the call is
long distance, the caller should call back at a specific time. Explain
that the information will be left with the person then on duty.
C. Message Log
VII. Holding Materials for Patrons
Library materials or personal belongings should be held at the circulation
desk. Other areas in public services are not required to provide this
service but may do so as special conditions warrant. For example, reference
materials collected to answer a specific question may be held at the reference
desk. Each item should have a note stating for whom it is held and for
VIII. Lost and Found
Lost items should be delivered upon discovery to the circulation desk.
Related inquiries should likewise be referred to the circulation desk.
IX. Young Children (preschool)
No one will be denied access to the library simply because of age but
disturbances caused by young children will be handled through the child's
accompanying guardian. A noisy child should either be quieted or removed
from public study areas. No young child is to be left unattended within
the library. Collection items are not to be handled by young children
left unattended. Uncooperative parents should be asked to leave the library.
No pets shall be allowed in the building. Seeing-eye dogs for the blind
shall be allowed.
XI. Other restrictions
A. Items of food or drink are not allowed to
be consumed in the public services areas of the library.
B. Storage or parking of bicycles within the
library is prohibited.
XII. Reference Personnel
A. Schedules and Scheduling
1. A consolidated work schedule for
the reference, desk shall be printed and posted on the reference bulletin
board at the beginning of each quarter. A copy shall be made available
to each reference desk worker, a copy to circulation, and a copy to
the library secretary. The chair of the Reference and Information Services
Team is responsible for the preparation of the reference desk work schedule
2. Vacation - If you are taking vacation
leave notify the Reference and Information Services Librarian at least
one week in advance. Coverage will be arranged by the Reference and
Information Services Librarian. It is extremely important that all personnel
having public service desk assignments try to stagger vacation leave
so that desk coverage is not negatively impacted. Persons holding the
off-hour contracts are hired specifically to fill the off hours and
should not schedule vacation leave which will interfere with this assignment.
This paragraph does not apply to faculty.
3. Illness or Emergency - In the event
of illness or emergency, the Reference Assistant should be notified,
and s/he will then immediately arrange coverage and notify the Reference
and Information Services Librarian.
SPECIAL NOTE: It is extremely important that notification be given as
far in advance as possible.
Also, for sudden illness or emergencies affecting weekend or evening
coverage notify the Reference and Information Services Librarian immediately.
If Reference and Information Services Librarian cannot be reached, work
with any other public service personnel on duty to find an emergency replacement.
4. Schedule Conflicts - The Reference
and Information Services Librarian will arrange reference desk coverage
for reference staff on the following occasions:
a. professional development (i.e. seminars
b. committee meetings that consistently meet
at the same time (i.e. faculty senate); or,
c. teaching assignments (i.e. PD 101).
In other scheduling conflicts the reference staff are responsible for
finding a replacement and changing the reference desk schedule.
5. On Call - Any person qualified to
serve at the reference desk is considered to be on call whether that
person is on duty or not and is expected to respond as best one can
to co-worker request for reference assistance on a special question
or to fill in temporarily at the desk during unusual or emergency situations.
B. Hiring student assistants
It is the responsibility of Reference and Information Services Librarian
to assess student staffing needs and coordinate the hiring of student
assistants for reference.
C. Performance Evaluation
Reference performance, evaluation of faculty providing reference services
shall be conducted by the Reference and Information Services Librarian
with input from any library staff person.
D. Job Entry and In-service Training
Training shall proceed according to programs designed and established
by the Reference Team.
Security and medical emergencies requiring immediate action should be
reported directly to Campus Police. Emergencies not requiring immediate
attention should be reported to the library administration during regular
hours and to Campus Police on evenings and weekends. Emergencies include
unruly or deviant human conduct and sudden problems with the physical
The person reporting any emergency should describe the nature and location
of the problem as accurately and specifically as possible and give the
name and location of the contact person in the library who will meet the
responding emergency personnel upon their arrival and direct them to the
scene of the problem.
XIV. Communication within Reference and Information
A bulletin board located in the reference office shall be the main communication
device for public services personnel. Each person assigned. to work at
the desk is under obligation to scan the board upon every arrival for
work at the desk.
A. Any person posting a notice should date
it and initial it. In general, posted items should be removed after
ten days unless there is a valid reason for longer posting it.
B. Professional literature for examination
should be placed in a conspicuous area of the reference office and labeled
with the reshelving/ refiling date.
C. A standard-sized, three-ring binder know
as "The Public Services Information Handbook" shall be kept at the reference
desk. Its purpose shall be to serve as a repository of the more detailed,
yet less permanent types of local information and as a reference to
special procedures or informational items of particular benefit to the
personnel and services of the reference desk. Items to be kept after
removal from bulletin board postings, for example, should go into this
binder, if possible. The maintenance of the handbook is the responsibility
of the Reference and Information Services Librarian, who will keep the
handbook organized and periodically purged of useless or obsolete items.
Anyone in reference may add items to this handbook. Purged items shall
be made available for final review by all reference desk workers before
A. Library patrons and non public service library
employees are not to use the phones at public service desks for off-campus
calls. Phones at service desks may be used by anyone for brief, on-campus
calls or local emergency calls.
B. No long distance calls from any library
phone shall be permitted without authorization. Personal long distance
calls must be paid for by the caller
C. Except for business or emergencies, public
services personnel should neither make nor accept personal telephone
calls while at work at the desk. The courtesy phones in the library
lobby should be used by patrons for off-campus local calls.
Patrons will only be allowed to use computers which have been designated
for public use.
XVII. Maintenance of the Reference Collection
XVIII. Commercial Database Searching
A. Reference staff responsibilities
It is the proactive responsibility of the reference staff person, when
other library reference materials are proving inadequate or inappropriate,
to refer the user to the appropriate bibliographer or the R&IS Librarian,
to schedule the online search.
B. When the University Library will subsidize
commercial database searching
The University Library will subsidize searches that support the instructional
and research needs of WSU faculty, staff and students.
Please Note: In instances where a faculty person, staff person or student
has obtained a grant and/or contract to offset the expense of research,
and the grant and/or contract includes commercial database expenses, all
search expenses will be billed to the grant/contract.
C. Non WSU Faculty, Staff or Students
Commercial database searches are done for non-WSU faculty, staff or students
by appointment. Non-WSU faculty, staff or students are expected to pay
all expenses incurred during the search.
D. Searches for Classes
Searches for class assignments or classroom demonstrations are scheduled
with the subject bibliographer at least a week in advance.
E. Other Online Services
Other vendors offer online services. Although the University Library
does not currently subscribe to many of these services, we will work with
faculty in developing services that fill their need.
XIX. Extended Reference Service
This type of service encompasses the unusual in terms of the time, effort,
complexity, number and types of sources involved, and so forth.
B. Patron Classes and Priorities
Priority groups for extended service are, in order: WSU administration
(deans and above), WSU faculty/staff, and WSU students. In general, extended
service will not be given to those patrons who are not officially affiliated
with WSU. Such patrons should be referred to those libraries or institutions
specially established and equipped to meet the needs of these people.
C. The Extended Question
Individual judgment must be exercised by public services personnel as
to what constitutes extended service or what the time and resource limitations
are in any given situation while keeping in mind the patron class priorities
Bibliographies of materials housed in the Stewart Library collections
may be compiled on request of campus faculty and administration. These
may be used as class handouts or for workshops, discussion groups, seminars,
Bibliographies may be annotated or not annotated depending on the given
need and the amount of time available for completion. Costs of photocopying
or printing will be charged to the department or the faculty member
originating the request.
Bibliographies needed for projects funded by outside agencies may also
be produced on request, provided appropriate funding for "library research"
is allocated to the Stewart Library. Arrangements, for such projects
are to be made through the Director of Information Services. Two copies
of all bibliographies will be placed in the University Archives and
twenty copies will. be sent to the State Library Depository System for
distribution to other institutions and agencies. The library, however,
does not compile bibliographies to fulfill personal needs but in this
case assists patrons in the use of the necessary bibliographical tools.
Bibliographies produced to patron specifications may be printed from
the DYNIX online catalog (see full description of this feature under
Circulation, sec. VI.E.6).
2. Genealogy Requests
Genealogical searches are not undertaken. However, assistance is offered
in the location of standard reference sources or genealogical service
3. Specialized Advice, Interpretation
Personnel serving at the reference desk may not offer interpretations
or advice regarding legal, medical, financial, or, "how to" information.
4. Reciprocal Exchange
The library supports reciprocal exchange of reference information among
libraries of all types in pursuit of patron satisfaction. Incoming correspondence
should be sent to the chair of the Reference Services Committee who
will refer it to an appropriate person for reply. All replies should
be made within one week of receipt of the original request. A copy of
all. correspondence should be kept in the Reference Services Committee
files. As a general rule, several pages of photocopied material may
be supplied free as part of a response so long as it complies with copyright
D. Private Requests
Requests for extended research service coming from patrons outside the
priority groups stated in section 2 above cannot be honored on library
time by Stewart Library personnel. However, the Stewart Library has no
policy prohibiting any library employee from privately contracting with
patrons to do research or prepare custom bibliographies for a fee so long
as that employee pursues the work on his/her own time. However, in this
case the Stewart Library assumes no responsibility for the quality of
E. Special Services
Special services are unusual services in the sense that they go beyond
the normal, required services provided the request for this type of special
treatment usually comes from the faculty. An example of this is a request
for the library to photocopy the tables of contents each month from selected
journals in a certain discipline for distribution to a specific academic
department on campus. Each request for special service shall be reviewed
on a case-by-case basis by the library committee most affected. Since
any decision has the potential of impacting the library image at large,
the appropriate committee, after studying the request and the library's
ability to meet it, shall offer a recommendation to the body of the library
faculty who will make the final decision on the request. Primary considerations
in each decision are the human, financial, and information resources available
and the real or potential return benefits to be realized.
F. Handling the Time-Consuming Question
For this type of question, the following options might be considered:
- A subject specialist may be called in or referred to.
- The patron could be informed of the time needed to answer the question
and asked to return or check in later.
XX. Telephone Reference Service
A. Telephone reference assistance is limited
to quick reference types of requests. Do not leave callers on hold longer
than two minutes. Callers requiring assistance extending beyond this
amount of time should be encouraged to come in person for help, check
in later, or have the librarian call when the answer is available.
B. Availability checks may be made through
the card catalog and DYNIX. If more than three items are to be checked,
the patron should be encouraged to come personally or send an assistant
to do the checking. If verification beyond these catalogs is necessary,
the person on duty should call other library departments for assistance
C. On caller request, reference personnel are
responsible for making a check through the appropriate catalogs available
to them to ascertain WSU ownership and availability of an item at WSU,
working with circulation personnel to retrieve found items from the
shelf, and making sure they are routed to the circulation desk for pickup.
The caller must be informed of the pickup location while still on the
telephone. A return call to the patron may be necessary if the person
at the reference desk or the circulation desk is unable to immediately
verify the availability of the item.
D. When transferring calls to another number,
give the caller the number in case the call is disconnected or the caller
wishes to keep a record of the number for later reference.
XXI. Circulation of Reference Items
The Reference and Information Services Librarian is responsible for the
correct application of the reference circulation policy.
A. Items Leaving the Building
As a general rule, no reference items circulate. In justified circumstances,
a loan may be granted under special permission. Permission should be
granted first by a faculty librarian from public services. If none such
is available, then any contracted staff member on duty may grant permission.
Student workers are not authorized to grant such permission. A reference
item may not be loaned if there is a duplicate copy available in the
circulating collections or if its absence would seriously impair service
to other patrons.
2. Length of Loan
Length of loan is negotiated between librarian and patron and depends
on the intended purpose of the loan and the impact which the item's
absence would have on service to others.
3. Eligible Borrowers
Anyone able to present a currently valid WSU identification card is,
eligible. Those not officially affiliated with WSU are ineligible.
4. Checkout Process
The patron must fill out a charge slip in two parts. The librarian
making the transaction is responsible to ensure that every box is completed
on the slip and that the information is legible.
This person should also initial the slip in case there is any question
about the loan. The patron's WSU identification card must be clipped
to one copy of the slip and held at the reference desk till the item
is returned. The other copy of the slip should accompany the item.
Since many reference items have permanently sensitized theft detection
devices implanted inside them, the patron will have to be accompanied
through the building exit by a library employee.
The Reference and Information Services Librarian is responsible for
monitoring the reference circulation file, contacting patrons with overdue
reference materials, and using all available means to secure their return
as soon as possible after the items become overdue.
B. Inhouse Use
1. Reference Reserve Items
a. Checkout Process
These are reference books which because of their high degree of popularity
and usefulness are kept behind the reference desk. These constitute
a reference reserve collection and are cross referenced from the general
reference collection by means of "dummy books." These "dummies" are
labeled on the spine indicating that the replaced item is located
at the reference desk.
Any desk book leaving the reference desk are should be checked out
using the Reserve Book Card (see Appendix 4) found inside each reference
reserve book and which should have the title of the book stated on
it. The book is handed to the patron in exchange for some type of
security to be held and attached to the reserve card until the item
is returned. Nothing needs to be written on the card by the patron.
Preferred security items are current WSU identification card or valid
driver's license. Other items of value may be kept as security also.
No specific time limits have been set for this type of loan. However,
such items should not remain on loan overnight.
2. Withdrawals and Additions
A reference worker wishing to have materials considered either for
withdrawal or inclusion in the reference reserve collection should use
the following procedure:
a. Place the item under consideration on
the designated shelf in the reference office.
b. Complete the top portion of the Ready
Reference Materials Evaluation form.
c. Post the form on the bulletin board in
the reference office.
Forms will be posted for one week, during which time reference personnel
will have an opportunity to comment. Consensus on the disposition
of all materials is sought. If consensus is not reached, disposition
will be determined by the majority opinion of those commenting. If
there is no clear majority opinion, the status of the material under
consideration will remain as it was prior to evaluation.
3. Temporary Items
Materials from the reference and/or other library collections may be
placed on temporary reference reserve only by members of Reference Services.
Such materials will be placed on the shelves behind the reference desk
for a period of time not to exceed ten weeks. All materials placed in
temporary reference reserve must be identified by using the Temporary
Reference Reserve slip (see appendix 4). Requests by college faculty
and/or other library patrons to place materials in temporary reference
reserve must be considered with regard to the purpose of the library's
Reserve/AV Department. Requests involving nonlibrary materials and,
in most cases, library materials from collections other than reference
should, be referred to the Reserve/AV Department. Requests to "hold"
materials for patrons at the reference desk will be honored or denied
at the discretion of the member of Reference Services taking the request.
4. General Reference Books
Since these are in an open stack area, they may be freely taken to
other locations in the building. However, patrons wishing to take reference
items to the copy center for copying should be asked to return them
to the reference area for reshelving so that they can be again available
to other users.
A. Non-book Items
Occasionally, items such as scissors, a ruler, hole punch, etc. are
requested by patrons for brief loan. Any such item should not be loaned
from the desk without retaining some adequate security item attached
to a note naming the item to ensure its return.
B. Temporary Removals
A card file shall be maintained at the reference desk indicating
which periodical titles have been removed for inhouse binding. The
Serials Coordinator is responsible for communicating the information
necessary to keep this file up to date. Any reference books removed
for binding or repair, whether inhouse or to professional binding,
are to be checked out to "bindery" using the regular checkout procedure
and form for reference books. Any library item or set of items temporarily
removed for special handling should be replaced with a note card taped
to the shelf at the item's normal location indicating the title, call
number, reason for removal, and temporary location of each such item
or set. Responsibility for posting the note card and informing the
affected public services personnel rests with the person removing
the items. In addition, a circulation transaction should be made either
on the automated system or manually if an automated checkout is not
C. Collection Development
a. Criteria for Inclusion
- Inclusion in Sheehy's Guide
to Reference Books
- Favorable reviews received from an objective, professional source
such as Choice
- The degree of content specialization, i.e. highly specialized
works may be understood by so few patrons that they would hardly
ever see use in a general reference collection.
- The reference nature of the book, i.e. written to be consulted
for pieces of information rather than to be read throughout.
- Organization for quick and easy use, either in an alphabetical
or chronological arrangement, or the item is replete with detailed
indexes and cross references
- Always items such as indexes and bibliographies which "point"
to the location of information
Borderline decisions are resolved by consensus of all faculty librarians
in public services on the basis of what is best for the patron and
b. Replacement of Print with Online Versions
Seldom used but expensive print titles should be evaluated and on
consensus of the public services faculty librarians, replaced by the
online version to be used as an integral part of online reference
c. Patron Recommendations
Patrons wishing to have reference items considered for purchase by
the library should be given a Student Book Request card (see Appendix
4) available at the circulation desk Completed cards should be referred
to the collection development librarian who will review the requests
in consultation with other appropriate public service librarians and
inform the requesting patrons of the decision reached.
d. Library Input
Any employee of the library is encouraged to offer recommendations
for purchase. The collection development librarian should route incoming
announcements of new reference items among public services faculty
for their recommendations before items are purchased. Purchases should
be made on the basis of agreement among the faculty librarians who
serve at the reference desk.
a. Decision Criteria
- The item has been superseded by a more current edition, and the
item is not part of an annual series set.
- The item in no way supports any personal or academic needs of
- The information in the item is useless or perhaps even dangerous
because of age.
- The item is not, by nature or internal arrangement, a reference
- The needs and purposes of the WSU primary patron classes are better
served by transferring the item from a restricted status to a circulating
status or even to an area or department external to the library.
- The item, because of discovered rarity or value, belongs in a
closed, controlled environment.
b. Automatic Serial Updating
The Serials Coordinator shall be responsible for maintaining information
in the serials files relative to the handling and disposition of serial
reference items and for the automatic replacement and disposal of
superseded reference serial items as agreed to by the Serials Coordinator
and the chair of the Reference Services Committee.
c. Disposition of Weeded Items
The withdrawal of any items from the reference collection should
not be finalized without common agreement among all personnel who
work at the position of an item withdrawn from the reference collection
should likewise be carried out in accordance with the common agreement
of all reference desk personnel. Items, upon withdrawal from reference,
shall be routed to technical services, each item with a note indicating
the desired action to be taken.
D. Control of Sensitive Information
1. Patron Complaints
Patrons with complaints about materials they consider objectionable
shall be asked to fill out a Citizen's Request for Consideration of
a Book form (see Appendix 4) which will be reviewed according to general
library policy. A timely response to the patron shall be given.
2. Reference Questions
Public services personnel at the reference desk should always be alert
to questions which invade personal privacy and may not give to patrons
any interpretation or advice regarding legal, medical, financial, or
"how to" information.
E. Trivial Requests
Assistance with questions related to contests, radio quizzes, etc. for
purposes of the patron's personal monetary gain should be given lowest
priority. The librarian should knowingly help in his case only if all
serious informational needs of other patrons have been met. Patrons should
be asked to come to the library where reference sources will be pointed
out for them to use in actually dong the searching themselves.
Keeping the reference office and the reference desk area clean and orderly
is the common responsibility of everyone at the reference desk. Reference
desk personnel are not to leave their work or personal articles lying
about the area when they leave their scheduled hour at the desk. If there
is a need to leave an item, such should be stated on a note left with
the item. All notes should be dated and initialed in case there is any
question. If the counter-top or terminal screens need polishing or if
litter needs to be picked up from the floor, this type of thing should
be attended to by the person(s) working at the desk as needs dictate.
Some basic cleaning materials are to be kept available in the reference
office. Reference reserve items are to be reshelved into their proper
places as soon as possible after use. Items on temporary reserve for class
assignments should be kept apart from the regular reference reserve items
and should have a note attached indicating the class or instructor and
the length of time the materials are to be set aside.
Personal items of patrons may be held at the reference desk as circumstances
warrant. However, items to be held overnight and longer should be transferred
to the circulation desk. The library considers this a convenience service
to patrons but disclaims any guarantee for the security of such items
held. Reference items collected to answer a question should have a note
stating for whom and for how long the items are to be held.
G. Unauthorized Persons Behind Reference Desk
Unauthorized persons are not allowed behind the reference desk unless
there is reasonable justification for their presence. Reference personnel
may permit or deny access to such persons as is deemed necessary.
LEXIS-NEXIS SCHEDULING POLICY
A. In order to accommodate groups during periods of high demand, access
to LEXIS-NEXIS shall be by reservation only.
B. Advance reservations shall be recorded in the LEXIS-NEXIS reservation
calendar kept in the binder at the LEXIS-NEXIS workstation.
C. The LEXIS-NEXIS workstation shall be reserved for only one hour at
a time by any one patron.
D. The LEXIS-NEXIS workstation shall not be reserved more than a week
E. A maximum late period of ten minutes shall be allowed to parties having
a reservation, after which the reservation is considered forfeited, and
use of LEXIS-NEXIS for that hour will be on a first-come-first-served
F. The Stewart Library reserves the right to preempt any LEXIS-NEXIS
reservation for its own purposes as conditions may warrant.