Reference Questions, as defined by the IMLS
A reference transaction is an information contact which involves the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of one or more information sources by a member of the library staff. It includes information and referral services. Information sources include printed and non-printed materials, machine-readable databases, catalogs and other holdings records, and, through communication or referral, other libraries and institutions and people inside and outside the library. The request may come in person, by phone, by fax, or by mail, electronic mail, or through live or networked electronic reference service from an adult, a young adult, or a child.
DO NOT count directional transactions or questions of rules or policies. Examples of directional transactions are “Where are the children’s books?” and “I’m looking for a book with the call number 811.2G.” An example of a question of rules or policies is “Are you open until 9:00 tonight?”