Public Policy Manual: Section 3

Reference and Information Services

3A. Requests for Materials

a) Requests for Materials Owned by the Greene County Public Library
  • When material is out on loan, a request may be placed on it.
  • Established cardholders may place up to 75 items on reserve. Teacher/educator cardholders may place up to 150 items on reserve.
  • When the material becomes available for a patron, that patron is notified by phone, email, or mail.
  • Material reserved through the request system is held for pickup for 7 days following telephone or email notification or for 7 days following the printing of a mailed notice.
  • When a patron phones to request an item on the shelf within a library, the item is held until the close of business three days later.
  • If an urgently needed item is available at another location, the local staff member may call the owning library and request that the item be held for the patron. It will be held until the close of business three days later.
  • To arrange for earliest possible delivery of an item from another Greene County Public Library, staff may place a request on the item, and then call the owning library to request that the item be located, discharged, and placed in the delivery.
  • There is no charge for requests on Greene County Public Library owned material. Requested periodical articles or reference materials not available at the local library but available at another Greene County Public Library are photocopied and sent by fax or through the delivery system at no charge to the patron. (See Fax Policy.)
b) Requests for Purchase of Materials Not Owned by the Greene County Public Library

Patrons may request that the Greene County Public Library purchase titles not owned by the library system. These requests are encouraged and the materials are given careful consideration for addition to the collection.

c) Resource Sharing

Patrons with a library card in good standing can request titles through SearchOhio that are not available for checkout from GCPL at the time of the request, regardless of whether GCPL owns the requested title. Patrons with a library card in good standing can request titles through WorldCat/OCLC for titles that are not owned by the library nor available through SearchOhio. Patrons with a library card in good standing can check out materials using their Greene County Public Library card at participating OhioLINK libraries as a visiting patron. These materials follow the circulation policies of the owning library and should be returned to the owning library.

c 1) WorldCat / OCLC
  • A patron can have a maximum of 30 OCLC items with the status of requested, checked out, or in transit at one time.
  • Items that may be requested include print and AV materials.
  • The Greene County Public Library absorbs OCLC fees and mailing costs of up to $10.50 per item. The requesting patron must pay any additional costs. Patrons are notified of charges in advance and may choose to cancel the request rather than pay.
  • OCLC print items can be renewed one time. Non-print items secured via OCLC cannot be renewed.
  • The overdue fine on OCLC items is 50¢ per day per item, with a $5 maximum per item.
  • The charge for lost or non-returned items is $20 per item in addition to any replacement charges levied by the lending library.
c 2) SearchOhio
  • A patron can have a maximum of 50 SearchOhio items with the status of requested, checked out, or in transit at one time.
  • Print and AV materials may be requested.
  • Loan period is 21 days for books and audio materials.
  • Loan period is 7 days for videos and DVDs.
  • All materials can be renewed three times if not reserved by another patron.
  • The overdue fine on Search Ohio items is 50¢ per day per item, with a $5 maximum per item.
  • A charge of $25 per item will be assessed for any item damaged or not returned.
  • SearchOhio policies, fines, and charges are determined by the SearchOhio consortium and cannot be waived or negotiated.
c 3) OhioLINK
  • A patron can have a maximum of 25 OhioLINK items (including SearchOhio items) with the status of requested, checked out, or in transit at one time.
  • Print and AV materials may be requested.
  • Loan period is 21 days for books and can be renewed six (6) times.
  • Loan period is 7 days for media materials (audiobooks, DVDs, CDs). Media materials can be renewed three (3) times.
  • The overdue fine on OhioLINK items is 50¢ per day per item, with a $5 maximum per item.
  • A charge of $25 per item will be assessed for any item damaged or not returned.
  • OhioLINK policies, fines, and charges are determined by the OhioLINK consortium and cannot be waived or negotiated.

3B. General Reference Service Procedures and Guidelines

Reference materials do not circulate.

Library staff use authoritative sources to respond to all patron questions. If a question cannot be answered after consulting relevant sources in a local library, staff may consult a librarian at another branch. In some instances, patrons may be referred to other agencies that can completely answer their questions.

During busy periods, preference is given to the patron in the library over the patron on the telephone.

The number of patrons waiting for help restricts the time available to assist any one patron.

With the exception of the Greene County Room, the Greene County Public Library does not provide research service. If a question requires compiling information from several sources, reference staff help patrons locate and use the appropriate materials but do not do the actual research or prepare individualized bibliographies.

If the response to a telephone inquiry would require more than three minutes to read, the patron is encouraged to come in to see the material. If an immediate answer is not found for a telephone query, the patron is called later after a more thorough search. The patron may be encouraged to visit the library to complete the research.

3C. Information Requests Requiring Special Approaches

a) Appraisals

Staff do not make appraisals. Staff show the printed sources the library owns and suggests that the patron contact dealers or other experts. Staff point out that printed price information may be region-dependent or out-of-date and that the value of an object depends on its condition.

b) City Directory and Criss-Cross Information

Staff give out information from city and criss-cross directories upon request, either in person or over the telephone. For phone queries, only two "nearbys" are given. The library's patron database is never used as a source for this information.

c) Consumer Information

Staff give out evaluations of products as listed in books, periodicals, and computer databases. Staff do not give personal interpretations or recommendations. Staff explain the complexity of the rating process and encourage patrons to examine the complete information themselves.

d) Contests

Staff encourage patrons to do their own searching, but answer simple factual questions. Staff make the answers to known contest questions available to all staff if they are likely to be asked again.

e) Genealogy and Local History

Staff refer all genealogical and local history questions to the Greene County Room. Staff may phone the Greene County Room in advance to make sure that the requested information is available there.

f) Homework

Homework assignment questions are treated the same as all other information queries. Homework assignments are legitimate information needs; staff treat them with the same priority and care as any other question. Staff encourage students to learn to use library resources and explain the process of locating the answer if possible. Teachers are encouraged to alert the library to upcoming assignments and to assign library work that has a reasonable chance of success. If the library does not have the information needed to complete an assignment, staff fill out a "Teacher Notification Form" and give it to the student.

g) Income Taxes

The library staff do not select forms for patrons and do not offer tax advice or interpretations of instructions. Staff may however help patrons to locate forms and publications.

h) Legal Information

Staff provide legal definitions and specific citations from the codes, but do not interpret passages. Staff caution the patron on the complexity of the law, the possibility that other pertinent laws may exist, and the limitations of library materials. Staff may refer the patron to the Greene County Law Library for information not obtainable from the Greene County Public Library. For complex questions (more than a simple definition or citation of a code), staff request that the patron come to the library. Staff do not recommend specific attorneys, but may suggest the patron contact an attorney or the local bar association for further assistance.

i) Medical Questions

Staff will assist patrons in finding information about diseases or medical conditions, tests, and treatments in print and in electronic databases. Staff do not interpret the information found in medical books or databases. Staff does not make diagnoses, give advice, or make recommendations. Staff may refer patrons to the local medical society, to area hospitals, to the organizations listed in the United Way Community Service Directory, and to the United Way telephone information and referral service. Staff do not recommend specific health care professionals.

j) Reader's Advisory

Staff help patrons select materials when they request assistance. Although this is a judgmental activity, a staff member's advice is based on a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the library's collection.

k) Research Requests

If the information needed to answer a question is very lengthy or must be compiled from several sources, staff help the patron to locate appropriate materials, show him/her how to use them, and check periodically to make sure the patron is progressing well. When a research request is phoned in, staff encourage the patron to come to the library in person if the appropriate materials are in the library's collection. Staff may recommend database searches and Resource Sharing and make referrals to other libraries and organizations when their collection would better meet the patron's needs.

l) Translations

Staff looks up words and simple phrases in dictionaries. Staff refer patrons needing longer translations to university language departments or to the Dayton Council on World Affairs translation service.

3D. Greene County Room Services

Genealogy and local history research is to be done by patrons, with limited assistance from the staff as time and other patron needs permit.

Local history and/or genealogical research requested by letter will be conducted. Most materials can be photocopied; however, fragile materials cannot be photocopied. A charge of 25¢ per page for photocopying is billed to the corresponding patron.

At patron request, articles from Greene County newspapers are photocopied and sent at no charge to the Greene County Public Library building most convenient for the patron.

Greene County Room materials do not circulate. Materials do not leave the Greene County Room for use in other locations within the building.

Greene County Room materials of an archival nature may be viewed only with the assistance of a staff member.

Duplication of manuscripts and photographs for the use in a publication or other media requires permission of the Greene County Room archivist.

3E. Fax Policy

The Greene County Public Library provides outgoing fax transmissions only. The library can provide a cover sheet to be filled out by the patron. The patron is responsible for finding and verifying the correct fax number. Charges are a flat $1 per page for local, toll-free, and long-distance numbers. Payment is due before service is provided. Operation of the fax machine is restricted to staff members only and this service will be provided as work schedules permit. If the fax number is busy, the number is redialed twice automatically. If the fax is not successfully transmitted after three attempts, the document(s) and payment will be returned to the patron. The library assumes no responsibility for documents left on the premises.

The library is unable to receive faxes except for information being provided by another Greene County Public Library. Patrons receive fax copies at no charge if the needed materials are not available in their local library. There is a limit of 8 pages per patron request of materials from one branch to another, exclusive of the fax transmission sheet.

The library staff reserves the right to make exceptions regarding maximum number of pages faxed.

3F. Scanning Service

The library offers a free scanning service. Scanned items may be saved to a patron's personal storage device. For locations where operation of the scanner is restricted to staff members only, this service will be provided as work schedules permit.

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