Reference and Reader's Advisory Policy

The Troy Public Library provides Reference and Reader's Advisory service to help people find
information, select library materials and use library and other information resources. Staff
responds to varied information needs using the library collections to the fullest extent possible and
identifying sources beyond the library whenever necessary. Staff uses professional judgment to
assess needs and provides information, assistance or instruction appropriate to individual


1. Staff replies to all requests for information and will accept questions:
•        in person
•        over the phone
•        through the mail
•        via e-mail.

2. Although all requests for assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, priority
will be given to in-person inquiries over other kinds of inquiries in event of a tie.

3. Reference transactions are confidential.

4. In providing information, especially in the subject areas of law, medicine and human biology,
consumer information, personal finance/tax information, staff will use professional judgment while
avoiding personal interpretation and recommendations.

5. Staff does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, sexual preference or disability in
the provision of reference services.

6. Staff may set reasonable limits on the amount of time and level of response given to patron
requests for information. Simple requests for information can usually be answered fully. More
complex questions may require that patrons participate in finding needed information, with staff
providing guidance and assistance. Patrons doing in-depth research or needing extensive
individual reading guidance should expect to receive professional assistance, direction and library
instruction, but will be expected to conduct the actual research themselves.

7. The reference interview is a vital part of reference or reader's advisory transactions. Because
telephone, fax, e-mail and mail do not allow face to face interaction and follow-up, misinterpretation
is always a possibility. Therefore, only brief definitions or descriptions can be read over the
telephone or sent via mail, e-mail or fax. Sources are always quoted verbatim without interpretation.

8. In order to ensure equitable access, staff may impose reasonable limits on the use of resources
such as the Internet and other computer workstations.

9. Reference and Reader's Advisory service complies with copyright and other applicable
restrictions in the use of library materials.

10. Reference and Reader's Advisory service is provided in a manner consistent with the Library
Bill of Rights and the American Library Association Code of Ethics (1995).