Using the Library
Email Reference Service

What is the “Ask a Librarian” service?

 The “Ask a Librarian” service is an email based reference service provided by the Central Library. It is intended to provide brief answers to factual questions. For lengthy research, you may wish to visit your local library.

A library staff member will answer your question using standard reference sources, or may direct you to appropriate resources on the Internet, organizations involved with the topic of your question, a specialized library, etc.

What type of answer should I expect?

We will provide answers that can be accurately conveyed by email.

How soon should I expect an answer?

Our goal is to answer all questions quickly, but we will only be able to work on your question and respond to it during the days and times the Central Library is open.

Will my question be kept confidential?

The confidentiality of your question will be respected, and discussion of it will be limited to seeking assistance in finding the requested information.

Are there limits to this service?

Certain kinds of questions, such as genealogical, medical, legal, and tax inquiries, may not be suitable or appropriate for email reference. Staff may request that you come to the library yourself to use materials on these subjects.

Submitting lists of questions is not appropriate for this service. Typical limits for multiple questions would be up to three addresses and phone numbers, or four stock quotes.

In general, we cannot devote more than one-half hour search time to your question. Should the information you requested require more time than that to answer, we will advise you as to whether the library has the necessary materials for you to come in and use, or direct you to other sources of information.

A subject division reserves the right to decide what is a reasonable amount of time that can be spent on a question that has been referred to it.

Disclaimer: “Ask A Librarian” is provided as a public service. Please be aware that we do not control the content of resources used and cannot guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information provided. Our answers are not a substitute for professional, legal, medical or financial advice.

Copyright: The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of copyrighted material. Responsibility for any possible copyright infringement lies solely with the user; the Library disclaims any responsibility or liability resulting thereof.