Skip navigation


Service Policy: Reference

The Fargo Public Library provides reference services to customers in the library, over the telephone, by mail, and via e-mail through the librarys website. Reference service is offered in both the Adult and Youth Services departments. The library staff strives to answer all requests for information in a timely, efficient, and accurate manner, however, customers who are being served or waiting at the desks will take precedence over other requests. There is a voice mail system for telephone requests that library staff answers as soon as time permits. E-mail and mail requests are also answered within a reasonable amount of time. Reference services may be limited at the librarys branches or Bookmobile; customers will be redirected to the reference department at the main library when appropriate.

Local Document Delivery:
Fax or mail service is available to registered borrowers. One to five pages will be faxed or mailed for a flat fee of $1, which will be posted to the borrowers account. For six or more pages the charge is .20 per page.

Individuals living outside of the Fargo Public Librarys direct service area may be redirected to the North Dakota State Library for document delivery; Minnesota residents will be referred to the appropriate regional library.

The library staff will complete requests as staff time allows. Every effort will be made to fulfill requests within 24 hours, but there is no guarantee.

Out of Town Reference Questions:
The library may limit the reference assistance provided to people who do not live in the library's service area.

The reference librarian receiving the request will determine its complexity. If the response will take more than 15 minutes of staff time, the customer will be referred to other sources, such as his/her local or state library, interlibrary loan, national lending programs, etc. Photocopied material will be supplied for a flat fee of $5 for the first five pages and .20 for each additional page. This service requires prepayment; customers will need to supply as specific information as possible along with a check made payable to the library and a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Copyright compliance is the customers responsibility and the individual will be so informed. Reference responses will not be faxed to out of town patrons.

Newspaper obituaries will be provided only if the exact date of death is given. The reference staff will not research to find such dates.

Non-circulating Materials:
Certain materials in the library collection are not available for checkout because of their intrinsic value, the difficulty of replacing them, or their frequent use. These include materials classified as Reference (adult or youth), North Dakota Collection, newspapers, and current periodicals.

Customers may call and ask that materials from these collections be taken from the shelves and set aside until they come in to consult them. Materials so requested will be kept at the reference desk for 24 hours. Library staff will not photocopy pages; however, customers may photocopy materials themselves.

City Directory:
Information from the city directory will be provided in order to balance citizens privacy, requests for information, and historical research.

Reference staff will provide name, address, and telephone number in response to a telephone request for information from the city directory. The staff will not provide names and numbers for near-bys, but will give the number for the management of an apartment complex if it is listed. The library will not provide, by fax or through interlibrary loan, copies of pages from city directories published in the last five years.

Microform Reader/Printers:
Patrons may use the microform equipment as long as they need to unless other users are waiting. If so, there is a limit of 30 minutes. Patrons may bring their own microforms and use library equipment. The printing charge is ten cents per copy.

Discarded Materials:
In order to be fair and equitable to all patrons and maintain fire safety, discarded materials (with the exception of books) will not be saved for patrons. Discarded books are sold through Friends of the Library sponsored book sales.

Approved 1-15-2002; Revised 4-26-2005