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Reference & Instruction Policies

Reference services involve interaction between students/faculty/staff, the librarian, and information resources.  Hiebert librarians work with everyone in the college community, and with other patrons within the limits of time, staffing, resources, etc. We adhere to the mission, vision and values of the Reference and User Services of the American Library Association. We endeavor to provide instruction whenever possible so that our library users become independent in their use of library resources and better researchers and users of information overall. This policy intends to encourage a consistent, high-quality standard.

The librarian's goal in the reference process is to create information literate students who can, per ACRL Information Literacy Standards and Guidelines:

  • Determine the nature and extent of the information needed.
  • Access needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

Services include:

  • Answering questions, in person, on the phone, and via electronic access (email, library chat, etc.). All contact information is on the library website. Patrons asking simple reference questions will have the information provided to them, while patrons with more difficult involved questions will be instructed in how to conduct their own research (see Personal Instruction below). 
  • Personal instruction for help in finding and using any of the library's print or electronic resources, including using online resources more efficiently, including directing students to library guides that they can refer to on their own and at their leisure. As we are a small staff, librarians do not do research for faculty or students.
  • Class instruction is available and encouraged. Input from and attendance by faculty is strongly encouraged. See the Faculty Resources page via the main page of the library website.
  • Referrals: Librarians will refer patrons to other libraries or sources of information when necessary. This includes suggesting searching other library catalogs to broaden a search, and to see whether a library located near an off-campus student may have the resources the student needs.
  • Publications: Instructional and informational handouts for in-class instruction, as well as online and tutorial formats, are provided to increase awareness and maximize efficient use of the library's resources. Librarians create, update, and maintain library guides with links to a variety of information appropriate for the FPU community. The librarians welcome input from the community on content.

Librarians will not:

  • Interpret information regarding medical, legal, financial, statistical, or tax information or class assignments. Students with questions about a class assignment should refer to their professor for help.
  • Perform research for any faculty or staff member, or student. Library users are expected to do their own research.
  • Violate copyright law.
  • Proofread or edit student papers or reference pages. Students seeking this kind of help should contact a university writing tutor or the academic support center.

The Reference Collection

The library maintains non-circulating materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, style manuals, and bibliographies designed for subject overviews or gateways to more specific information. We have many of these resources available in both print and electronic formats. For more information on the Reference collection at the Hiebert Library check out our guide "Reference Sources: What They Are and How to Use Them".

The Library Collection

All of our collection can be used to research for faculty and student work. Our Acquisitions Librarian works hard to create and maintain a robust collection for our community. Faculty are welcome to suggest new resources via the "Suggest a Resource" form on our "Faculty Resources" page, accessible through the main page of our website.