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The Library is committed to providing reference service that teaches and serves the college community. Although reference and other library services are designed primarily for the faculty, students, and staff of Messiah College, librarians also provide limited reference service to community members as time and resources permit.
Reference service is provided in a variety of ways to meet the needs and preferences of our patrons: at the Reference Desk; by phone (x3910); by e-mail (AskaLibrarian); by text-messaging (email@example.com); and chat (instant messaging using AIM, MSN, Yahoo, or the chat button on the Library homepage). Librarians help with topical research; use of the library's databases and print materials; location of particular books or articles; citation using various style guides (e.g., APA, MLA); and direction toward individual reference materials. Lengthy or complex reference needs may require an appointment with a librarian. Telephone, e-mail, and instant messaging tend to be most successful with shorter, less complex questions.
As librarians in an academic institution, the reference librarians' role is to teach patrons to research effectively and become independent scholars. Thus, in general, reference librarians do not perform research on behalf of patrons, with the exception of some single-fact information (e.g., telephone numbers, publisher's addresses).
Reference Staffing and Hours
During the academic year, six professional librarians staff the Reference Desk with a seventh librarian providing occasional backup:
A reference librarian is available for consultation at the Reference Desk during the following hours:
At times when the Reference Desk is not staffed, there is generally someone "on call" to provide reference service. Click here for ways to contact a reference librarian.
Reference Collection Development Policy