The Reference Service Department of Mission College Library provides patrons with free access to informational, and educational resources. The reference staff endeavors to respond to each request promptly, courteously and accurately. Our challenge is to provide a consistent pattern of service excellence, to convey trust and competence, to provide training and access to new information technologies and to create an environment that invites our patrons to use and enjoy our facilities and resources.
Codes of Ethics / Performance
Reference Service staff subscribe to the Librarians’ Code of Ethics.
Assisting users [faculty and students] is a primary purpose of MC Library. A good reference service attitude includes approachability, awareness, sensitivity, courtesy, and a positive frame of mind.
Priorities of Service
All users are to be treated equally with attention and care. However, requests from individuals acting in their official capacity [President of the college, Vice-Presidents, and Deans, certain government staff] are priority requests.
Reference interview techniques will be used at every available opportunity. More extensive questioning will often be necessary to get into the specific need of the user.
Verification of Answers
In order to provide accurate and authoritative information, staff members should always cite the source of the information given.
Reference Service Guidelines Attitude
Staff approachability should be apparent so that the user feels comfortable in seeking assistance. Demeanor should indicate earnest, cheerful, business-like eandeavor.
Responsibility for Providing Reference Services
The accountability for reference and information service resides at the Reference Desk. To ensure quality service, only staff trained in information services and resources should provide assistance at the Reference Desk.
Other Work at the Reference Desk
Work performed at the Reference Desk should be work-related in nature to reference and information retrieval. Using desk time for purely personal interests is prohibited.
Personal and Business Calls at the Reference Desk
Personal telephone call should not be placed at the Reference Desk. Incoming personal calls should be kept very brief, if they cannot be totally avoided.
Time Spent with User
Ten minutes is a reasonable amount of time to spend with one client. Three to five minutes is appropriate when others are waiting. Additional time may be spent with users who have special difficulties in using library resources.
Answering Complex Questions
The librarian may need at least between half an hour to an hour to search the library resources for the information asked, and will then call the inquirer.
Instructions Vs Answering Questions
It is the librarian’s responsibility to give users the choice of either having the information found for them by library staff, or learning how to find it for themselves. For questions requiring extensive or repeated use of sources, it may be advisable to instruct the user and then check back with them. Patrons are encouraged to return to the librarian if further assistance is needed.
Directing Vs Accompanying to the Shelf
Whenever possible, staff should accompany users to the stacks when location directions are requested or given. If users must be directed to the shelves, they should be encouraged to return to the Reference Desk for additional help if it is needed.
When overhearing a fellow staff member give misinformation, one can tactfully offer better or newer information. Users should not leave the library with incorrect information, nor should staff ever embarrass one another. Some suggested phrases are:
i.] “We have some new information on that………”
ii.] “I was just working on that and found……..”
Telephone reference service is usually limited to supplying information that is readily available. If the question cannot be answered within 3-5 minutes, write down his name, address and telephone numbers on the Inquirer Form, not forgetting the inquirer’s questions. Call the inquirer as soon as the answers are available.
Reference Service Limits
When an inquirer has a list of titles to be checked the librarian should take the decision to teach him the basic skills of searching so that he could go on his own, and advise him to come back to the reference desk if he has further questions. Librarians are available to advise, direct and aid in such work as information retrieval, but not to do the work.
Circulation of Reference Materials
Reference materials do not circulate. Exceptions should only be made on rare occasions when there are extenuating circumstances. Permission from the Library Director is required.
Complaints about Library Materials, Staff & Services
Complaints received at the Reference Desk always deserve careful consideration. The person making the complaint should be referred immediately to the Library Director.
Document Delivery Services
Similar to DDS that is provided by the library at the moment is to help inquirer retrieve information from the Internet and deliver it by email attachment.