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Student Worker Handbook: Reference

What you need to know to excel as a library assistant

Reference or Not?

There will be plenty of times on the job when you are asked questions that you are perfectly capable of answering yourself without involving other library staff.  There is no need to ask a librarian about:

  • Directions to buildings/offices on campus
  • Library hours
  • Phone extensions
  • Do you have the Divergent series?
  • General circulation policies (loan period, renewals, etc.)
  • Any other general types of questions

If you can't answer a question, please find one of the librarians so we can help, but also find out the answer for yourself so you will be prepared to answer should another patron ask the same question. 

More detailed questions should always be directed to the reference staff.  Please do not attempt to provide reference assistance on your own, unless specifically asked to do so by one of the librarians.  We are specially trained in research, and know what questions to ask the students to find what they really need.  Reference questions include:

  • What are some of the issues involved with abortion?
  • How do I use the online databases?
  • I am an online/AGS student and am unable to access the online library resources.
  • I need help narrowing my research topic.
  • What resources would you recommend that I use for researching a company?
  • I need some articles on the effects of mainstreaming gifted and talented students.
  • Or, any other question that involves research, locating sources on a subject, or accessing resources.

Tracking Reference Questions

Please record any questions you have in LibAnswers.  If you have forgotten your login information, please ask a staff member know.  The URL for LibAnswers is  LibAnswers is also on the library home page under research tools.  Login link is at the bottom of the page (My Admin).

When you are covering the desk, be sure to log into LibChat in LibAnswers.  Some online students and AGS students use chat frequently.  Thanks!