Library Board approved October 18, 2011

The Oak Park Public Library staff provides knowledgeable, personalized assistance to help customers find and use factual information, library materials, and online resources.  The service is provided to Oak Park residents and nonresidents by professional librarians and other staff trained in accordance with the guidelines and ethics of the American Library Association.  These include the Statement on Professional Ethics, Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers, and Guidelines for Medical, Legal and Business Responses.

Information services are provided at the Main Library, Maze Branch Library and Dole Branch Library, as well as by telephone and electronically.  Library staff uses good judgment to prioritize questions when responding to more than one question at the same time.  Staff treats all requests with respect and confidentiality.  Staff uses information obtained from accurate, authoritative sources, and the sources for answers are cited.

Library staff strives to provide complete, accurate answers to all queries.  Simple requests are usually answered fully and quickly.  Complex questions may require follow up at a later time or an appointment for individual assistance.  Complex questions may also require the customer’s participation in the information search with staff providing guidance and advice on the search strategy and process.  When questions cannot be answered fully with the available resources, staff provides referrals to experts, organizations, and other authorities.  Staff may need to limit the amount of time and level of response provided to a customer.

As information professionals, library staff is not able to provide services in other areas of professional practice.  Staff does not:

  • provide medical, legal, copyright, financial or tax advice
  • recommend individual practitioners such as physicians or attorneys
  • provide appraisals of books, artwork, antiques or other collectibles
  • provide editorial or translation services
  • provide career counseling advice
  • conduct genealogical, patent, trademark or other in-depth research
  • handle confidential information such as social security numbers, account information or medical information.  If such information is viewed inadvertently, staff makes every effort to protect customers’ privacy.

Staff provides library materials, online resources and referrals to other organizations to address needs within these areas.

Information services are evaluated on an on-going basis.  The library evaluates the quality, responsiveness, accessibility, and convenience of information services.