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University at Buffalo Libraries

Health Sciences Library
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HSL Reference & Education Services Policy Statement


Service Philosophy

As a unit of the University at Buffalo Libraries, Health Sciences Library (HSL) Reference and Education Services (RES) is dedicated to providing high quality, accurate and personalized reference and education services.  Activities of RES support the University at Buffalo’s research, teaching and service mission, with HSL staff ready to assist in meeting the information needs of library clientele.


Goals of Reference and Education Services

Reference and education services are among the most vital and visible endeavors of the HSL and are central to the role of the University Libraries in serving as a learning space for students, faculty, staff and the community.  Services are provided to individuals to meet their informational and instructional requirements at the point of need, in the most appropriate format and venue. 


Service Values

When providing service HSL RES staff respond in a way that visitors find:

  • It easy to approach staff for assistance
  • Staff strive to provide accurate, on target information
  • Staff strive to provide an environment where teaching occurs
  • Staff support individual intellectual freedom
  • All are treated equally with respect and understanding
  • All interactions are handled in a confidential manner
  • Demonstrates an expertise and knowledge

Librarians conduct themselves according to the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association


Types of Reference and Information Services

  • In Library
    • Respond to ready reference inquiries, generally of a quick, factual nature
    • Provide access to and instruction on bibliographic, full-text and other databases
    • Assist in understanding research queries, developing effective search strategies, and locating and evaluating information
    • Introduce and instruct students, faculty and staff on the use of new technologies in information retrieval
    •  Validate/check citations
    • Locate known items
    • Respond to directional questions
    • Help visitors navigate the HSL website http://library.buffalo.edu/hsl/
    • Help visitors evaluate information resources
    • Provide referrals to other libraries or agencies as appropriate
    • Provide referrals to HSL library liaisons
    • Provide instruction sessions to develop information literacy skills – course-, subject- and resource-based
    • Assist library visitors to perform basic technical operations
    • Provide in-depth consultations by appointment
  • Office hours at School or Department (select)
    • Schedule time to spend on-site in school or department assisting with research and course related information inquiries.   Provides individual information literacy instruction.
  • Via Phone at the Reference Desk
    • Respond to phone inquiries.  These inquiries are of lower priority than responding to an in-person request.  If librarians are unable to respond to a phone call, voice mail will pick up the call and save it until they can retrieve the message. 
    • If librarians cannot respond to the inquiry quickly, take the caller’s name, phone number and/or email to get back to the person rather than have him/her remain on the line
  • Electronic/Chat
    • Respond to email reference questions via AskHSL and the Instant Librarian chartroom
    • Respond to Chat queries as scheduled

Clientele

The Health Sciences Library provides reference and information services for library users affiliated with the University at Buffalo, the hospitals within the Western New York area, health care professionals in Western New York and the public.

Primary Clientele

  • School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
  • School of Dental Medicine
  • School of Pharmacy
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Public Health and Health Professions

Hospitals

  • Kaleida Health Systems
  • Erie County Medical Center
  • Catholic Health Systems
  • Veterans Association Medical Center