Reference assistance is available without charge to all patrons. Reference questions are handled one at a time, in order of submission, including telephone queries. When the librarian is busy, assistance to students, faculty and staff takes precedence over assistance to public patrons.
Referral to other libraries is advised when materials are not housed in the Fitchburg State collections, e.g.:
Children’s Literature/Stories to a public library.
Travel and genre fiction to a public library.
In-depth local history to the public library of that area, also the historical society of the community.
In-depth legal materials to a legal library.
Patrons are shown how to conduct research and how to use reference materials. While librarians will aid in the finding of information, in keeping with the goal of fostering research skills, it is the responsibility of the patron to assess and evaluate the materials for appropriateness of scope and purpose.
No searching can be offered for puzzles, quizzes, contests etc.
Reference is offered through telephone and IM, though for detailed reference questions patrons are encouraged to come in person to the library. If the reference librarian is exceptionally busy, they may encourage a patron to call back or visit to receive the requested information.
Patrons perform their own photocopying, though assistance is offered with technical questions.
Patrons compile their own bibliographies. The library provides access to a number of tools to aid in the preparation of bibliographies.
Reference materials do not circulate except to a faculty member who obtains the approval of a reference librarian. Each item must be checked out at the circulation desk.