Function of Reference service

Functions of reference service:
In 1942, The American Library Association (ALA) stated the six functions of reference service:
  1. The supervision function.
  2. The information function.
  3. The guidance function.
  4. The instruction function.
  5. The bibliographic function.
  6. The appraisal function.
  7. Supervision function: This function consist of,
  • Proper organization of facilities;
  • Selection of reference materials;
  • Direction of personnel, and
  • Study of the library clientele.
  1.  The information function: The reference librarian should be prepared to answer all types of questions and should be able to produce source that would answer the questions. Attempts have also been made to classify questions in various ways. Reference librarian should be prepared to give assistance to the enquirer as much as he requires.
  2.   The guidance function: The reference librarian should be able to give guidance to the readers in the choice of books and other reading materials and should guide them in the location of documents.
  3. The instruction function: A reference Librarian should instruct the readers about how to work in the library, the use of catalogue and reference works, the location of materials, etc. For this an orientation programme should be arranged to familiarize the readers with the library practices and procedures.
  4. The bibliographic function: The bibliographies in various subjects of interest to the readers, should be prepared by the reference staff, so that the readers are able to know the books and other reading materials in a particular subject.
  5. The appraisal function: The success in reference service largely depends upon two factors:
  6. i) Possession of right material.
  7. ii) Knowledge of how to get the most out of it.

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