Carlson Library exterior


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 library’s website. Reference staff is available for assistance at the Main Library and Dr. James Carlson Library. 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 in person 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 library’s branches; customers will be redirected to the reference department at the Main Library when appropriate.

Local Document Delivery: Mail or e-mail service is available for reference documents to registered borrowers. One to five pages will be copied and mailed for a flat fee of $1, which will be posted to the borrower’s account. For six or more pages the charge is $.20 per page.

Individuals living outside of the Fargo Public Library’s direct service area may be redirected to the North Dakota State Library or their appropriate regional 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 provide limited reference services for materials unique to the Fargo Public Library’s collection and resources to users outside of the local service area. This includes Fargo Forum microfilm, genealogy resources, and other local history resources.

The reference librarian receiving the request will determine its complexity. If the response will take more than 30 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. 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 where applicable, a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Copyright compliance is the customer’s responsibility and the individual will be so informed.

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.

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 will not be saved for patrons.

Approved by Library Board of Directors: 01-15-2002
Revised 04-26-2005
Revised 06-17-2014
Reviewed 06-19-2018