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Marx Library Staff Training for Reference: Referring Questions

Referring Questions

When Should I Refer a Question?

  1. If you cannot answer the question at all
  2. If the question goes beyond what you were originally asked
  3. if you are uncomfortable with your ability to answer the question
  4. If the patron tells you that they need more than what you've been able to provide
  5. If the question is a complicated medical or business question.

To Whom Should I Refer Questions?

For most questions, simply referring patrons to the reference desk is fine, but when the reference desk is closed:

  1. If the question is a very general one, give the patron the reference desk hours, phone number and email
  2. If the question is subject specific, give the patron the business card of the librarian who is the subject specialist for that area
  3. If the question is a complicated medical, nursinng or allied health question, refer the patron to the Biomedical Library.
  4. If the question is an involved business question, refer the patron to the MCOB Library.

Use the Subject Librarian list to help you refer questions about specific topics to the correct librarian. See the Library Directory for contact information.

Other Libraries

Subject Librarians

Librarian Discipline
Amia Baker Business
Stephanie Evers Ard

Communication
Sociology & Anthropology, including

  • Social Work
  • Gerontology

Political Science & Criminal Justice
Psychology
Military Science

Amy Prendergast

Biology
Chemistry
Engineering, including

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Physics
Marine Sciences
Computing

Earth Sciences, including

  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Meteorology

Environmental Toxicology
Mathematics & Statistics

Angela Rand Education
Adult Interdisciplinary Studies
Beth Rugan Shepard  English,including
  • African American Studies

Foreign Language & Literature
Theatre & Dance
Visual Arts
Music
International Studies
Philosophy & Religion
History (including Gender Studies)

Vicki Tate Government Documents