Reference Service Policy

I. Library Vision Statement

The Library is the University’s center of knowledge; its intellectual, cultural and social hub; and an essential partner in fostering teaching, research, and community engagement.

II. Service Overview

Staff are available at information desks during scheduled hours to help users locate answers to questions and use a wide range of library resources in print, physical media and electronic formats. Brief reference assistance is available to users who telephone the information desks during scheduled service hours. Users may also submit reference questions by e-mail. We make every effort to respond to email quickly, generally within 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays.

III. Service Philosophy

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library strives to provide accurate and personalized reference service to meet the University’s research, teaching and services mission. Since the Library is part of an educational institution, reference service is often instructional in nature. Reference staff seek to teach users about efficient, effective information-seeking strategies and the use of quality, relevant resource material, rather than simply locating the answer.

IV. Clientele Served

Priority is given to serving current students, faculty, and staff of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Reference assistance will be provided to non-Manoa users as time and staffing allow. Exceptions to the above will be made for users accessing official U.S. government information available through the Federal Depository Library Program.

V. Scope of Service

No time limit is fixed for answering a question at the information desks. However, users with in-depth reference questions or needing extensive research consultations may be directed to schedule a face-to-face appointment with a librarian. Reference questions from non-Mānoa users which exceed our capacity may be referred to the user’s own organization or a public library.

Types of questions that will be answered may include:

  • Assistance in finding the answer to specific ready reference inquiries which generally require the use of a single source to answer a quick, factual question.
  • Assistance in developing research strategies for reports, term papers, theses, and dissertations.
  • Instruction in the use of the Library and its resources.
  • Verification of Library holdings and referral to institutions which have materials this Library lacks.

Types of questions that will not be answered may include:

  • Requests for financial, legal, medical, personal or veterinary advice.
  • Requests for appraisals of private property of users.
  • Requests for librarians or staff to complete assignments, write research papers, or format citations for students.
  • Research requests. Generally, users asking ready reference questions will have the information provided to them, while users with more difficult and involved questions will be instructed in how to conduct their own research.
  • Requests for translation services.

Approved by the Public Services Heads Group: September 8, 2015
Approved by Irene Herold, University Librarian: September 21, 2015

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