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Reference Question or not

Page history last edited by Kim Miller 10 years, 11 months ago



Susan Mark, WY


A question from one of my libraries, and I don't see a clear answer in the current definition.


Patron stops in and asks them to look up something in that patron's personal circulation record, such as what books they have overdue.


Reference question, or not?


They've gone round and round at their office, because the librarian DOES look something up for the patron, although it's in a non-public information source. It's not really a "directional" question, but my gut does not like this as a reference question. 


My gut has been wrong before, though. SO, I will defer to whatever the ruling may be on this one! 


IMLS Response:

This is not a reference transaction.  Seems closer to the realm of rules/policies, especially if it is a question about outstanding fines or overdue books, which are directly related to the enforcement of library policy.



Daria Bossman, SD



Ann Reed, OR

This is not a reference question.  Yes, the librarian does look something up so there is a need, a tool, and trained staff, but the matter is one of record keeping convenience for the library and patron, not one of assisted information seeking.


Scott Dermont, IA

I agree with Daria's very succinct answer. Go with your gut on this one. I don't think we want to count every time a circ clerk is asked to look up a fine or change an address - which is what this could turn into.


Dianne Carty, MA



Post Comments:

Susan Mark, WY

Thanks to all who responded. I've let the library know that this is not a reference question.



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