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Reference and Information Services Policy

Service Standards

The library recognizes and respects that each question is important to the customer who asks it.  Library staff will use authoritative and appropriate sources to respond to all customer questions.  In some cases, staff may refer a customer to other agencies that can more completely answer a question.

Library service shall be based on the principle that assistance in locating appropriate material and information, and help in using library resources, shall be restricted only by the time and staff available. The number of customers waiting for help may restrict the time available to help any one customer; however, staff will strive to provide effective service to all customers.

Material that is not owned by the Shaker Heights Public Library shall be ordered from other CLEVNET member libraries to be held at or delivered to the library most convenient to the customer. Material not owned by the CLEVNET library consortium shall be made available to customers, when possible, through interlibrary loan from other library systems.

Service Limitations

A.    Legal and Tax Information

Staff provides legal definitions and specific citations from the codes, but does not interpret passages. Staff does not recommend specific attorneys, but may suggest the customer contact the local bar association for further assistance and may provide a list of attorney names from online search engines. Staff assists customers in locating specific tax forms and publications.  Staff does not interpret tax regulations or provide tax advice.

B.    Medical Information

Staff will assist customers in finding information about diseases, medical conditions, tests, and treatments in print and electronic resources. Staff does not interpret the information found in these medical resources.  Staff does not make diagnoses, give advice, or recommend specific health care professionals.

C.    Research Requests

If the information needed to answer a question is very lengthy or must be compiled from several sources, staff helps the customer to locate appropriate materials, show him or her how to use them, and checks periodically to make sure the customer is progressing well. When a research request is phoned in, staff encourages the customer to come to the library to use material that is only accessible in the library. Staff may recommend electronic resources and material to borrow from other libraries, and may make referrals to other libraries and organizations when those collections would better meet the customer’s needs.

Local History Reference

The Shaker Heights Public Library’s Local History Collection is a repository of primary and secondary source material that furthers the knowledge of Shaker Heights and the adjacent Shaker Square area of Cleveland, past and present.

The Local History Collection is a non-circulating and non-browsing collection. Cataloged materials, such as the Shaker Authors Collection, high school yearbooks, and published works on Shaker Heights and Cleveland, can be retrieved by reference staff for in-library use during all regular library hours. Other local history materials including photos, maps, microfilm, and other paper documents can be accessed when the Local History Librarian is on duty or by prior arrangement with the Local History Librarian.

Approved by the Shaker Heights Public Library Board of Trustees 9/15/2010