The Yocum Library Reference Policies

Commitment to service to its patrons provides the foundation for The Yocum Library's provision of reference services. Reference services are provided to students, staff, and faculty of Reading Area Community College as well as to individuals and institutions who request these services. Although members of the RACC community have priority, reference service is provided as quickly as possible for non-college patrons and institutions.

Reference services are provided in person, by telephone, by mail, by fax, or by e-mail. If possible, simple reference questions received by telephone are answered while the patron is on the line. However, for questions requiring more in-depth research, the library staff will contact the patron as soon as possible. Results may also be sent directly to the patron by mail, by fax, or by e-mail. More complex searches may require the recommendation that the patron visit the library in person.

The Yocum Library reserves the right to refuse requests which violate local, state, or federal law, such as, but not limited to, requests which are violations of copyright, pornography, sexual harassment, or privacy laws. The library staff is not accountable for the validity of published information or for uses to which information may be put by patrons. Moreover, the library staff does not interpret the law, diagnose medical problems, or recommend materials or companies for purchase or hire. The library staff does not provide computer program instruction.

If the resources of The Yocum Library cannot satisfy the patron's request, the library staff will contact other libraries or resource centers to attempt to discover a source. If the patron needs to visit another facility to acquire the needed information, the library staff will provide guidance in the use of the recommended facility.

The level of the reference request determines which library staff member should provide service. All library staff members answer directional questions: location of library features - circulation desk, reference desk, computer catalogs, Internet workstations, photocopiers, displays, collections, offices, study rooms, testing center, bathrooms, etc. Student staff members answer directional questions only.

In addition to directional questions, library assistants assist patrons in the basic use of computer catalogs, Internet workstations, audio-visual equipment, photocopiers, retrieval of library materials, and explanations of library policies and procedures.

In addition to the above services library paraprofessionals provide basic reference services to patrons. They conduct introductory reference interviews and determine the level of the reference request. They provide reference services or refer the patron to the reference librarian if they determine that more help is required. They assist the patron in computer catalog features, Internet search strategies, and basic reference sources. They provide instruction in basic library search techniques.

Reference librarians provide the highest level of reference service. Patrons should interface with the reference librarian before pursuing other sources including interlibrary loan. They recommend patrons to other facilities for further research and instruct patrons in the effective use of those facilities. They provide in-depth library instruction. If a reference librarian is not available, the patron can schedule a meeting in person or by telephone.