The purpose of Reference/Research Services is to provide the necessary instruction and support necessary for the university community to access its online and print resources. Librarians assist students, faculty and staff in the location, use and evaluation of information resources both print and electronic.
Collection Development Circulation
Reference materials are selected by the librarians and the faculty.
Reference items that are shelved behind the reference service desk may be checked out to use within the library for three hours.
Reference materials do not circulate outside of the library.
In rare cases, a reference item that is not in-demand may be checked out for overnight use upon special permission from the Coordinator of Reference and Research Services or the Coordinator of Evening and Weekend Services.
Reference and research librarians provide the following services:
Directional: Answer general questions about the library and services especially pertaining to logistics such as schedules, floor plans, and policies.
Ready Reference: Answer short factual questions using standard reference works.
Reference: Answer questions that require the use of library resources.
Consultations: Work with students and faculty one-on-one in instances that require in depth research and may include narrowing/broadening a topic, understanding keyword/subject searching, and use of multiple resources for example. This may require scheduling an appointment.
Examples of Types of Services
Help navigate the library’s website.
Assist with finding books or DVD’s using the online catalog.
Provide assistance with searching electronic resources for journal articles.
Recommend resources and research guides.
Give instruction on library research.
Assist in developing research strategies for reports, research papers, theses, and dissertations.
Reference and Research Librarians do not:
Proofread or edit student papers. Students are advised to consult the Writing Center for assistance.
Answer contest, quiz or trivia questions. Students will be advised as how to locate the information themselves.
Interpret class assignments. Students will be referred to their instructor.
Interpret medical, legal, financial or statistical information.
Points of Service
Reference and Research Desk: Service is provided in person at the public service desk.
Telephone: Service is provided via telephone at 336-750-2454. Librarians should check the voice mail at least once while they are scheduled at the desk.
Email Reference: Service is provided via email account at firstname.lastname@example.org. Librarians should check the email account at least twice while they are scheduled at the desk and all questions answered within 24 hours.
Fax: Service is provided via fax at 336-750-2459
The reference desk is staffed during all hours that the library is opened.
Reference service is primarily for Winston-Salem State University students, faculty, and staff.
Services may also be provided to students and faculty of other UNC university libraries and city patrons.
Reference and Research librarians will assist patrons with computers in the Reference area as they are able or will call for technical assistance.
One computer is available per person.
Patrons should save their work on floppy disks or flash drives.
Professional Ethics and Confidentiality
Reference and Research staff are expected to:
Provide prompt and customer friendly service to all students, faculty, staff and city patrons on an equal basis, without discrimination or judgment based on age, race, creed, gender, socio-economic class, sexual preference, or status within the university.
Keep all reference and research questions confidential.
The question asked and the identity of the patron will not be made known to other library patrons or outside agencies.
Conduct themselves according to the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association.
Phrases such as “May I help you?” or “How can I assist you?” are necessary to encourage approachability and questions.
Show respect to students, faculty and staff by communicating in a friendly manner and listening attentively.
Give attentive and timely service that takes precedence over any other activity that library staff performs while at the public services desk.
Use the reference interview to determine and clarify a patron’s request.
Be proactive by approaching patrons that appear to need assistance including roving reference.
Consult other librarians, especially subject specialists, for questions as necessary.
Statistics on each reference transaction will be recorded by library staff in Desk Tracker including face-to-face, email and one-on-one consultations.
Monthly, quarterly and yearly statistics will be used to assess services.
Reference and Research staff are expected to make every effort to utilize O’Kelly Library’s resources to answer questions and refer patrons to another academic or public library in a timely and efficient manner in an effort to meet the patron’s informational need when necessary.
Standards and Practices
Reference and Research staff are expected to:
Examine new reference sources and share resources with other librarians.
Attend workshops and conferences and share information with other librarians.
Keep current with the professional literature and share information with other librarians.
Develop and maintain a Libguide in their subject area.
Be competent to determine the patron’s purpose, level of understanding, subject area of question, amount of information necessary to answer question, and demonstrate:
Familiarity with Library of Congress Classification System
Ability to search and interpret online catalog:
Understand and explain (instruct):
Author, Title, Keyword and Subject searches
Location, Call # and Status
Familiarity with frequently requested reference books such as CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, etc.
Familiarity with the Electronic Resources:
Ability to search and interpret electronic databases:
Understand and explain (instruct)
Basic and advanced searching (Boolean, limiting, field searching)
Printing, saving, e-mail citations
Ability to develop guides and handouts that are available in print and online
Familiarity with equipment such as printers, copiers, computers, phone, fax, microfiche/film reader etc.
Be on time for scheduled desk duty.
Give outstanding questions to the next librarian on desk duty.
Change the schedule at the desk when times are traded with another librarian.
Record each reference transaction.
Check email for questions.
Be familiar with equipment such as printers, copiers, computers, phone, etc.
Be familiar with Circulation policies and basic procedures.
Assist Circulation staff when the desk becomes busy with patrons to enhance customer service.