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About Grace Library

Reference Services

Grace Library is committed to providing high-quality reference services to the Carlow University Community, as well as to the general public. Reference services are defined as the provision of assistance and guidance in finding and using information resources, both within and outside the library.

Reference services include the following:

  • Answering factual, directional, and research questions in person, by phone, email, or by chat.
  • Providing instruction and advice on how to use the library catalog, databases, and other online resources.
  • Recommending appropriate sources and strategies for research and information needs.
  • Referring patrons to other librarians, libraries, or agencies when appropriate.

Principles of Reference Services

Reference services are based on the following principles:

  • Reference services are provided in a courteous, respectful, and professional manner, respecting the privacy and confidentiality of patrons.
  • Reference services are guided by the American Library Association's Code of Ethics, Library Bill of Rights, and Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers.
  • Reference services are aligned with the library's mission, vision, values, goals, and strategic plan, as well as with the curriculum and programs of study of Carlow University.
  • Reference services are responsive to the changing needs and expectations of patrons, as well as the evolving information environment and technologies.
  • Reference services are evaluated regularly and systematically to ensure their effectiveness and quality.

ALA Code of Ethics

ALA Library Bill of Rights

ALA Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers

Limitations of Reference Services

Reference services are subject to the following limitations:

  • Reference services are provided primarily to current students, faculty, and staff of Carlow University, but members of the general public are assisted as time and resources permit.
  • Reference services do not include providing answers or solutions to homework assignments, tests, or quizzes. Librarians will assist patrons in finding relevant sources and developing research skills but will not do the work for them.
  • Reference services do not include interpreting, analyzing, or evaluating the content or quality of information sources. Librarians will provide guidance on how to assess the authority, accuracy, currency, and relevance of information sources, but will not make judgements or recommendations for patrons.
  • Reference services do not include providing legal, medical, tax, or other professional advice. Librarians will refer patrons to appropriate sources or agencies for such information.