The mission of Reference Services is to facilitate access to the University Libraries’ collections and services. Librarians assist patrons in finding information and in learning how to conduct research to find information on their own.
Reference service points are staffed primarily by librarians, each of whom holds a graduate degree in Information Science.
The University at Albany Libraries strives to provide a full suite of reference service options to our patrons. Patron service options include walk up services at the reference desks; service via telephone, text, IM, and email; and research consultation appointments through PAWS, Personalized Assistance with Searching. Research consultations are scheduled in advance to insure uninterrupted time for the patron to consult with a librarian about appropriate resources and strategies for a project.
University at Albany reference services include:
- Assisting patrons in using the collection, the online catalog, online databases and the Internet.
- Assisting in formulating effective research strategies
- Suggesting appropriate resources
- Providing quick factual information
- Determining if the University Libraries have access to a particular item
- Providing guidance in applying style guide formats
- Providing directional information regarding the Libraries and its collections as well as the campus, including University contact information
- Consulting with or refering patrons to other librarians, libraries or institutions as necessary
- Providing guidance, rather than answers, in the case of assignments involving library education
Services not provided include:
- Interpreting the intellectual content of the information found in sources
- Editing or writing documents for patrons, including formatting citations
- Giving out legal, medical, or tax advice
- Conducting patent, trademark, legal or genealogical research for patrons
- Proctoring tests
The University Libraries reserve the right to terminate any reference exchange in the event of abusive, threatening, rude, or harassing behavior.
Reference service is provided primarily to currently enrolled students, faculty and staff of the University at Albany, but members of the local and scholarly community are assisted as time allows. Priority is given to in-person queries; however phone messages, email, text and online chat messages will be
answered in a prompt manner. Patrons with questions requiring specialized or extensive assistance may be referred to PAWS or a subject librarian.
Ethics of providing reference services
- Librarians providing reference service will, to the best of their ability, provide accurate and up-to-date information.
- A reasonable effort will be made to address every reference question.
- Reference questions will be kept confidential, and librarians will be impartial in interactions with patrons.
- The University Libraries adhere to the “Code of Ethics,” “The Freedom to Read Statement,” the “Library Bill of Rights,” and the “Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers” of the American Library Association.
- The University Libraries adhere to the “Principles of a Just Community” set forth by the University at Albany Senate.