Reference Services Policy

The River Forest Public Library provides reference services to library patrons through the use of print and online resources.

Reference services are defined as
1) providing assistance with the use of library resources
2) the provision of information in response to a patron’s question
3) providing assistance with locating library materials.
4) providing reading suggestions through reader’s advisory service

Reference services are provided to River Forest residents and non-residents by professional librarians and other trained staff members.

Reference services and materials are available to everyone regardless of age, race, gender, social or economic status and the River Forest Public Library adheres to the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics. Questions and transactions that occur between library patrons and reference services staff are treated confidentially and with respect, and are not discussed outside a professional context.

Reference services and materials are available during library hours and are provided in response to all forms of inquiry, including but not limited to patrons in the library, over the phone, or via the Internet. Requests will generally be handled in the order they were received and library staff uses good judgment when responding to more than one question at a time. More complex questions may require follow up at a later time. Follow up responses to more complex questions may be conveyed over the phone, via email or fax. Some 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.

Staff may limit the amount of time and level of response when providing reference services and cannot provide services such as typing or translation services, appraisals of books, career-counseling advice, the entering of personal or credit card information in to online forms, providing medical, legal, copyright, and financial or tax advice.

Staff is able to assist patrons using library hardware and software including the copier, fax machine, eReaders and Media on Demand. IT support on personal devices and hardware is not available.

In the instance of legal, medical, investment or tax reference questions, reference services staff may only guide the patron to the material available on the topic of interest. The staff may not evaluate or interpret the information provided nor define the meaning of terms, offer investment advice, select tax forms or serve as a surrogate for a professional in any of the fields above.

Patrons with questions that cannot be answered or needs that cannot be met with resources available to the library may be referred to other organizations or agencies.