Reference Services Policy
Faulk Central Library is the primary reference resource for the Austin Public Library system. Assistance is provided to walk-in customers, customers who telephone the library, and those who e-mail or text the Library.
Reference and information service are two of the public library's primary roles. The responsibility of the Austin Public Library reference staff is to provide patient, prompt, accurate, and impartial service to users of all ages and backgrounds.
People who come to the library for information are not required to learn how to use reference tools, but training and instruction will be offered as appropriate so customers can become self-sufficient library users. Librarians at the second floor reference desk recommend search strategies and assist customers in locating the most appropriate resources, including print books and journals, electronic databases, and Internet web sites.
Providing information by telephone is an integral part of library service. Austin Public Library's Telephone Reference service gives customers the opportunity to ask questions without coming to the Library. Telephone staff can briefly answer questions on any subject, search the catalog for holdings, assist with the Library's electronic databases, and provide customer account information.
The Telephone Reference staff can answer three short fact questions or search for ten minutes, whichever comes first. When a telephone reference request requires more than ten minutes of staff time, a callback will be arranged. The response time is 24 hours for callbacks. Users requiring more answers or extended searching will be encouraged to come to the library. In all instances, the source and date of information will be cited.
Telephone reference is open Monday - Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, and Sunday 12 noon to 6 p.m. Customers may request searches for items held at the Faulk Central Library, but no more than three items may be requested by phone per day. Titles can be held at the Faulk Library or transferred to a branch.
Ask a Librarian
The Library provides answers, Web sources, research help, and information about Library collections and services by e-mail. The response time is usually the same day but may be 24 hours. Customers may submit no more than three e-mail questions per day. Staff will only answer three emails on the same topic. After that the customer must come in to the Library. E-mailed questions may be referred to other Library sections for a response.
Copying, Faxing, Printing, and Scanning
Photocopying is available for customers using coin-operated machines. Charge is $.20 per page. Customers may not bring their own paper in for use in the copiers and printers. The Library has no fax machine available to the public. Faulk Central has a scanner for public use.
Telephone Reference can fax up to five pages to Library branches, offices or homes. Branches may charge $.20 per page for the printing.
The reference staff can print pages from electronic sources for walk-in and telephone customers and may charge $.20 per page depending upon the request. Printing from public computers costs $.20 per page for black and white and $1.00 for color prints.
Reference Services librarians at Faulk Central Library provide reference and homework assistance everyday to students at all levels. In addition, Connected Youth Centers at Faulk Central Library and Carver, Cepeda, Manchaca Road, Oak Springs (Willie Mae Kirk), Southeast Austin Community, Terrazas, University Hills, and Windsor Park branches, allow students to learn to use the Internet for homework research and get study help in all subject areas. Austin Public Library also offers K-12 tutoring through the Victory Program at Carver, Cepeda, Little Walnut Creek, North Village, Old Quarry, Ruiz, Southeast Austin Community, Spicewood Springs, Twin Oaks, and University Hills branches.
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