Reference Service Policy

Statement of Purpose


The reference staff of the Richton Park Public Library is dedicated to providing the best possible access to information for all its patrons regardless of age, race, sex, disability, social, or economic status. Reference service will be provided at least 90% of the hours that the Library is open. The services provided by the reference staff shall include but not be limited to the following: ready reference, reader's advisory, interlibrary loan, instruction on the use of the online catalog and other electronic resources within the library, and assistance on the public access computers. The purpose of the reference collection is to answer general reference questions and to supplement homework assignments for the students of the Richton Park community. All patron questions will be handled confidentially, impartially and with courtesy. This policy is available to the public both at the Front Desk and on the website of the library at The Richton Park Library adheres to and supports the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics.




Basic Reference Service


  1. Reference service is provided in response to all forms of inquiry including telephone, fax, and email. In-person questions will take precedence over all other reference questions. Telephone inquiries, including homework assignments, are limited to less than five minutes and patrons may asked to come to the Library when on-site use is advisable. Reference questions submitted by email will be answered within two days of receiving the question.
  2. Any reference questions that cannot be answered with materials from the Library's collection will be pursued via the Internet, interlibrary loan service, telephone calls to other agencies or referrals for patrons to other resources outside the Library.
  3. The maximum time allotted to a patron for a reference question will be determined by the number of available staff on duty at the library, the amount of traffic in the library, and the librarian's evaluation of the patron's needs.
  4. The staff will not answer questions related to puzzles or contests, but will assist patrons in their search for the information.
  5. The staff will not conduct genealogical research for its patrons but will direct them to resources found within the Library's collection.
  6. Staff may not offer personal opinion, advice or interpretation as fact.
  7. The staff is not legally qualified to offer legal, medical or tax advice, but will direct patrons to resources found within the Library's collection.
  8. Financial appraisals for collectibles such as works of art, coins, stamps, ect., will not given by the reference staff, but they will direct patrons to resources within the Library's collection.
  9. The staff will not translate materials for patrons but will locate resources for translation.
  10. The staff will proctor examinations by appointment only as well as based on staff availability.
  11. Any costs incurred by the library for interlibrary loan will be passed on to the patron. The cost for printing material either from the photocopier or the printer is fifteen cents per sheet.
  12. Materials marked as reference will not circulate and must be used within the Library.




  1. The reference staff shall have the knowledge to meet the information needs of the patrons of the Richton Park Library. The staff will be familiar and competent with various information sources and technologies used in the Library.
  2. Continuing education is fundamental to the professional growth and development of the reference staff and the Library will encourage and support these efforts on behalf of its staff.
  3. The reference staff has read and understands the policy as outlined in this document.




  1. The Reference Service Policy of library will be evaluated every two years by the staff, administration and the Board of the Richton Park Public Library.


There will be a regular evaluation of the reference service and resources of the Richton Park Public Library at least every two years by the Library's reference staff.


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