What is a Reference Service | Need for Reference Service | Reference Service Library Reference Service


Table of Content:- Definition of Library Reference Service, Type of Reference Service (Ready Reference Service &Long Reference Service), Purpose and Function of Reference Service, Need for Reference Service, Reference Service in Library

The term 'reference service' is used to express service or work used to establish contact between two objects. Information service is a developed form of reference service.

In the context of the library, two things are reader and book. Therefore, the service used to establish a reader and a book is a Reference Service.

In this service, making the reader acquainted with the full subject of the book, providing the necessary book for a solution by understanding the problem or question of the reader, understanding the intellectual difficulties, and generating more interest in the readers in their behavior is the main task.

The main subject of this service is the reader and keeping in view his interest, the tendency, intellectual assistance is provided to him in this service.

Definition of Reference Service | What is Reference Service


According to Dr. S.R. Ranganathan -
Reference Service  is a "Contact between the right reader and book at the right time and in the right personal way".

In other words - "Personal service is the process of connecting both the reader and the book, furthermore, it is written that the reference service is the personal information provided in finding helpful texts to find solutions to each reader's questions."

According to Hutchins -
Personal information provided for any purpose inside the library is 'reference service'.

The reference Service
 definition is given by ALA - The aspect of the library which is directly related to the reader's assistance in obtaining information.

According to DG Foskett - 
Reference service is actually a practical form of humanism because it is intended to aid readers in the method of knowledge acquisition.

The above definition clearly shows that personal service is a reference service when requested by the reader and keeping in mind the need.


Library Reference Service
Library Reference Service


Need for Reference Service


Several methods are implemented to run the library service smoothly. Without these methods, the reader is not able to access the library. Thus reference service becomes necessary.

We can see the need for reference service in the library as follows

1. Saving time - The reader gets to the book easily through the reference service. If the reader will find the book in the library according to his own requirement. 

It will take a long time because he does not know where to find such and such book. Thus the reference service saves the reader valuable time.

2. Psychological requirement - The library should immediately serve the reader through a referral service. Because the reader does not get the desired text immediately, his curiosity disappears. 

Therefore, a suitable book is made available to the reader at a suitable time through the reference service.

3. Excess of texts - Along with the development of printing arts, the book became easily available. Due to the excess of books and due to the many subjects, it was arranged in such a way that the readers could not use the library themselves. 

Hence reference service becomes necessary.

4. Decentralization of information - Reference service is also required in the decentralization of information. By this, the reader is informed to access the information.

5. Bringing vibrancy to the library service - In the library, information is given to the reader through personal service and liveness is generated through the reference service.

Purpose and The function of Reference Service


ALA (American Library Association) has given six functions of reference service in the library

1. Supervisory Function - To provide smooth service to the reader, the organization of the department, the appointment of trained staff, the study of readers' tendency, and interest is done by the reference department. In addition, an inspection of these works is necessary.

2. Informatory Function - The readers are often busy with various tasks. The reader needs the necessary information but lacks time. Therefore, it is its job to extract information from the relevant book and present it to the readers.

3. Guidance Function - The reference service consists of guidance work done to the readers from time to time. Under this, guidance for the correct use of the library, business information, or guidance for books related to higher education, etc.

4. Instruction Function - In reference to service, the objective is that the reader can ignore the library service correctly. For this, a variety of instructions are provided through the reference service.

5. Bibliographic Function - The reader busy with research or other work should immediately know about it. 

The reader also needs to know immediately whether the book is available on this subject or not, for this purpose, the work of creation of a large list comes under the reference service.

6. Evaluation Function - In reference service, the employee evaluates the relevant texts for the information of the readers, only through the evaluation of the information and the book, the employee can do the appropriate work in limited means.

Apart from this, there are some other functions of the reference service.

7. To answer readers' queries by phone or correspondence.

8. Providing translation service.

9. Getting information in relation to the information received in the national and national library is the main task.

Type of Reference Service: Ready Reference Service & Long Reference Service


Generally, there are two types of reference services.

(A) Ready Reference Service - The information that we can answer immediately is called Ready Reference Service.

(i) It takes minimum time. Most questions are answered within minutes.

(ii) Most of the questions are answered with the help of a reference book.

(iii) This service is limited to fact-finding and general information about the subject.

(iv) Preparation and service in this service are temporarily different from each other, as soon as the question of the curious is answered, the sense of the question goes away from the IDEA brain.

(v) Most of the questions have to be answered only.

(B) Long Reference Service - The information which takes time to respond, two or four days, sometimes we have to bring the information outside the four divis and us call it Long Reference Service.

(i) It takes much longer than that. Generally, it may take half an hour or more and sometimes days and weeks.

 (ii) Books, Periodical to answer the questions. Pamphlets, files of museum offices, and assistance are also sought from subject matter experts. 

Sometimes national and international documentation centers, libraries, Biliogrphies, associations, lists, and unpublished texts, and unpublished material also needs help.

(iii) In addition to fact-finding, information has to be given to other levels also, the reference books presented in these can be helpful only to some extent, in addition to finding solutions to problems from a specific point of view, among other means, especially the latest on a subject. 

The evolution of ancient discoveries are some such types of information that are not found in reference texts.

(iv) In service, both preparation and service meet each other. Until the question is resolved, the emotion remains in the brain and the problem keeps on moving in the brain.

(v) In case of need, the referenced employee has to do the work like creation, abstract, and translation of the Bibliography catalog along with the answer to the reader's question.

Thus, we see how much reference service is important to the library. The right use of this service increases the importance of the library. Thus we see that the reference service is the core service of the library service

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