Course:5: Access and Outreach
Lesson:Lesson 1: Good Reference and Access Practices
Topic:Some Things To Consider

Some Things To Consider 

  • Donít allow users to retrieve or reshelf unique historical records. Use a call slip that will help you be aware of what materials are being used and when they were used. Based on the call slip, staff can retrieve requested records. File call slips in date order and keep them on hand.
  • Donít allow access to restricted material without written permission.
  • Replace valuable or fragile items with photocopies or microfilm copies whenever possible.
  • Consider whether or not you will allow users to access collections that are not processed. If you decide to allow access to unprocessed materials, make sure users understand the difficulties they may encounter in using unprocessed material; and make sure that they know to keep the records in the existing order.

Maintain a staff manual or procedures book that records decisions, policies, and procedures. Keep the manual up to date and organized.

Collect standard reference materials when you can, such as dictionaries, atlases, publications that relate to your collections, local histories, and other publications related to your collections. If you are looking for reference materials, but arenít sure what you need, try contacting other libraries, archives, or museums in your area. They might be able to tell you what resources are the most helpful; and they might even have old or duplicate copies that they would be willing to give you. Also, if you have researchers that are working on local histories, family histories, or other items that relate to your collections and community, ask them if they would consider depositing a copy with your organization. 

Refer users to other libraries or organizations with related materials, other reference tools, or different collections that could help them with their research. Keep the addresses and phone numbers of these kinds of organizations available for quick reference. Users appreciate these kinds of ďtips.Ē

reference books
Keep reference materials available.

 Date tabs
File call slips in date order and keep them on hand.

 microfilm reader
Use microfilm or photocopies for viewing rather than direct use of valuable or fragile items whenever possible.