Information Services Policy


Information services are those services, which link people with resources to fulfill informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs.

Purpose of This Policy

This policy is intended to provide library staff with a clear description of any guidance in providing information service. The policy is in no way meant to limit initiative on the part of staff in serving the public. Staff are encouraged to use good judgment to satisfy patrons’ needs.


It is the policy of the Huron County Library to answer all reference and information questions efficiently, accurately and as completely as possible, and to assist patrons in the use of the library and its resources.

If it is not possible to find an answer using the Huron County Library resources, patrons will be referred to other libraries, agencies and community resources

Courtesy and Interest

All patrons seeking help at the Library will be greeted in a friendly manner and regardless of sex, age, ability and ethnic background they will be treated equally, with respect and courtesy.

All questions will be considered important and legitimate, unless it becomes clearly apparent that they are otherwise.

Types of Service

The Huron County Library provides a variety of information services to patrons that are described below:

1. Quick Reference

These questions can usually be answered immediately using public library resources.

2. General Reference

General reference questions usually require a more lengthy search and/or the use of a number of sources to arrive at a complete answer. Staff will guide and assist the patron in pursuing the answer while simultaneously providing, as required, informal instruction in how to search and use library resources to the best advantage.

3. Readers’ Advisory

Readers’ advisory is the activity of recommending books to readers and helping readers identify their reading preferences. Staff assist patrons by making a judgment about the material, utilizing the criteria each patron and staff have established.

4. Consultation/Interpretation

Staff will attempt, to the best of their abilities, to provide consultative assistance in defining more difficult questions and will show alternative methods of approach. The level of assistance will be based upon the patron’s needs and capacities, and staff time constraints.

The interpretation of information which requires expertise beyond the scope of staff competence is not attempted; e.g. in the fields of law, medicine, and evaluation or authentication of rare items. A patron will be referred to the information in the library or elsewhere but it will not be interpreted by staff.
Location of Material

5. Location of Material

Staff will check for a patron to see whether a specific desired item is in the library’s collection. If it is, but is not immediately available, instruction will be given to the patron in placing a hold or a hold will be placed by staff if requested. If the Library does not own the item, assistance will be given to the patron in borrowing it from another library or in locating the information that will allow the patron to purchase the item elsewhere.

6. Library Orientation, Instruction and Student Assistance

An important component of the duties of staff working at the Information Desks is that of familiarizing the patron with all library services and giving instruction in the use of the public access catalogue, digital resources, Internet, microfilm reader/printer, and other library materials and equipment. The level of assistance provided will depend on the resources and staff available.

7. Telephone Service

Patrons initiating enquiries by telephone will receive full staff attention. If the staff member is unable to deal with the telephone request immediately, arrangements will be made to return the call within an agreed upon time period.

Patrons needing extensive research service (extended reference) will be requested to visit the library to participate in research process.

8. Correspondence

In addition to answering requests presented in person and by telephone, the library will also respond to requests received by mail and e-mail in a timely manner.

9. Interlibrary Loan Service

The Huron County Library is part of an information network within the community, within the Southern Ontario Library System and in cooperation with other library systems across Ontario and Canada.

This service is automatically offered by staff whenever the information requested cannot be filled by the resources of the Huron County Library and is within the scope of the regional and national interlibrary loan code.

In return, the Huron County Library shares its resources in accordance with the code, while always giving priority in the use of resources for its own patrons.

Patron Confidentiality

Patron’s confidentiality is respected at all times, in compliance with government legislation.

Patrons are not asked to identify themselves in any way before reference service is provided.