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Genevieve Miller Hitchcock Public Library

Reference Service Policy

Our library strives to proved, accurate and timely answers to the majority of information requests with on-site resources and to provide referral for all questions that cannot be answered adequately at our library.  We strive to keep the community informed about the reference services and resources available at the library and to provide opportunities for the mastery of library skills.

Ethics-Confidentiality and Impartiality

The staff of the Genevieve Miller Hitchcock Public Library handles all inquiries with impartiality and confidentiality in a courteous and efficient manner.  No distinction is made about the purpose of the inquiry of the use of the information.  The library subscribes to the American Library Association's Code of Ethics.

Information requests are confidential and are not made available to others unless specifically required by court order or unless cleared with a patron.

Scope of reference service:

  1. Scope of service:  Our Library provides reference service within the scope of the library collection and when applicable, refers to outside resources.  The Library provides reference service to patrons of all ages who request information regardless of residency.  Reference service is available during the hours the library is open.  Information requests are accepted in person by telephone and through the mail or e-mail.
  2. Special Categories:
    1. Medical, Financial and Legal Questions:  The library provides information but not advice.  Brief definitions and descriptions are given from sources such as legal or medical dictionaries.  Sources are quoted verbatim with no interpretation by staff.

    2. Appraisals:  Reference staff direct patrons to appraiser and price lists but does not appraise items.

    3. Contest/Trivia Questions:  No puzzle contest questions are answered over the phone.  Patron visiting the library are assisted in finding probable sources for answers.

    4. Homework Questions:  Reference staff assists students in their searches rather than provide specific answers by suggesting books and indexes and sources in our collection as well as providing materials from other libraries through the InterLibrary Loan.

    5. Genealogical Questions:  Reference staff will make every effort to supply helpful information and referral in this area but will not undertake original research.

    6. Local History:  Questions related to local history are welcome.  The staff will provide assistance with local history materials.

    7. Criss-Cross Information:  Information in the The Cole Directory will not be given by phone.  The directory is available for library use only.

    8. Referrals:  If a patron's question is not completely answered the staff will refer the question and all source searches to another library.

    Adopted September 2004