Email Reference Service Policy

Adopted February, 2013

About the Service:
  • The A. C. Clark Library’s Email Reference Service is provided by Bemidji State University Library faculty to serve the informational needs of Bemidji State University students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community.  Priority will be given to questions from current BSU students, faculty, and staff.


Service Guidelines:
  • The email reference service gives starting points for research, as well as advice on search strategies.  It does not give in-depth research assistance or homework advice.
  • Users will be referred when possible to print, electronic, or other resources and services of the A. C. Clark Library.
  • If you need in-depth research assistance, please visit the Reference Desk during Reference Desk service hours, or call the Reference Desk toll free number at 1-800-860-0234 (218-755-3342).


Hours of Operation and Turn-around Time:
  • Users of the service can submit questions at any time, except during extended break periods when the A. C. Clark Library is closed.
  • Librarians respond to email requests only during normal weekday business hours– Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The Library will try to respond to email requests within 24 hours during a typical work week.
  • The service is not staffed on weekday nights, weekends, holidays, or during other periods when the campus or Library may be closed; however, users may still submit questions during these times (except extended break periods).
  • Questions received during the weekend or holidays will be treated as if received on the first weekday that the Library re-opens for service.  Questions received on a weeknight are answered the following morning.


Types of Questions answered by the Service:
  • Questions on where to begin research on a topic, as well as advice on search strategies
  • Questions about A. C. Clark Library services and facilities
  • Questions about the Library home page
  • Questions regarding off-campus access to the Library’s electronic resources


Types of Questions not answered by the Service:
  • Requests for homework assistance, or interpretation of course assignments
  • Requests for medical or legal advice
  • Questions requiring in-depth research assistance may be directed to the Reference Desk during Reference Desk service hours, or by calling the Reference Desk toll-free at 1-800-860-0234 (218-755-3342)


Service Referrals:
  • Questions regarding other units of the A. C. Clark Library will be routed as appropriate.  Contact information for units within the Library is available here.
  • If you have questions about Interlibrary Loan services, your questions may be answered on the Interlibrary Loan page.
  • If you have questions about Bemidji State University, your questions may be answered by the Bemidji State University home page.  Questions about the A. C. Clark Library may be answered by the Library home page.
  • Questions regarding the status of your borrowing privileges and/or fines/blocks on your Library account can be called in to the Circulation Desk at 218-755-3345, during regular business hours (7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., M-F).


If you need more information

about the A. C. Clark Library’s email reference service, please call the Reference Desk at 1-800-860-0234 (218-755-3342).

To submit your question via email, go to the Ask a Question page.

Note: Adapted in part from Santa Monica College Library’s Email Reference Service Policy page.