Reference and Readers Advisory Policy
The Fountaindale Public Library District welcomes and encourages the use of its services and facilities by all patrons. Providing professional reference and readers advisory help is a vital service to the community. Reference service is the assistance given to someone seeking information. Readers advisory is defined as connecting people with books and entertainment both in physical and digital formats. The goal in offering these services is to provide accurate, timely, thorough, interesting, and beneficial information and resources to patrons.
Reference and Readers Advisory Services are provided by trained staff all hours the library is open. Patrons may receive service in person, by telephone or electronically. Requests are handled in the order staff receive them. Reference and Readers Advisory Services are offered by staff in our building, bookmobile and through outreach to the community.
Patron queries are addressed with no distinction about the purpose of the inquiry or the use of the information. All questions are handled in confidence and with impartiality. Staff does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, sexual preference, disability, or appearance in providing reference or readers advisory services. Service is provided in a manner consistent with the Library Bill of Rights, the American Library Association Code of Ethics, and copyright law.
Priority of service is given to patrons on site. At busy times it may be necessary to give some basic help and get back to a patron for more assistance. Questions received via telephone, email or other electronic means will be answered in a timely manner.
Library staff strives to provide complete, accurate answers to all queries. Simple requests are usually answered fully and quickly. Complex questions may require follow up at a later time or an appointment for individual assistance. Complex questions may also require the patron’s participation in the information search with staff providing guidance and advice on the search strategy and process. When questions cannot be answered fully with the available resources, staff provides referrals to experts, organizations, and other authorities.
Library staff also provides instruction in effective use of resources which may include instruction of individuals, dissemination of print or online guides or bibliographies, online tutorials, and formal classes covering a variety of resources and software.
As information professionals, library staff provide guidance and instruction. Library staff are not able to provide services in other areas of professional practice. Staff do not:
- handle confidential information such as social security numbers, account information or medical information. If such information is viewed inadvertently, staff makes every effort to protect patrons’ privacy.
- provide medical, legal, copyright, financial or tax advice
- recommend individual practitioners such as physicians, attorneys, daycare providers or tutors
- provide appraisals of books, artwork, antiques or other collectibles
- provide editorial or translation services
- provide career counseling advice
- conduct genealogical, patent, trademark or other in-depth research
Appeal and Review
The Board of Trustees of the Fountaindale Public Library District will review the Reference and Readers Advisory policy and regulations periodically and reserves the right to amend them at any time. The Board authorizes the Executive Director to waive regulations under appropriate circumstances. The Executive Director is the chief person empowered to make decisions regarding reference and readers advisory services. The Executive Director has delegated authority to implement this policy to the appropriate department managers.
Any appeals for changes to, or exceptions to, any portion of the Reference and Readers Advisory policy will be considered. An individual wishing to file an appeal shall submit it to the Executive Director in writing. The Executive Director will respond in writing.