Skip to Main Content

UMGC Library Practices Regarding the Use of Reference Services

Use of the UMGC Library’s services implies agreement to abide by UMGC’s Policy on Academic Integrity, its Code of Student Conduct, and its Acceptable Use Policy


The UMGC Library provides reference services to meet the research needs of UMGC students, faculty, staff, and other patrons, within the limits of time, staffing, resources, and the professional judgment of those providing the services. The goal of the Library’s references services is to meet patrons’ research/information needs accurately, efficiently, and courteously.

Patron queries are handled on a first-come-first-served basis by instant message, e-mail, and phone during normal reference hours. Appointment requests are accommodated as staffing and time allow.

Services provided

Reference services may include:

  • recommending subject guides, databases, resources, and/or search statements
  • directing patrons to web pages, videos, etc. that address their research/information need
  • providing information about the availability of a known item
  • explaining how to use a library database
  • helping patrons evaluate the material that they find
  • providing guidance about how sources should be cited per APA, MLA, or Chicago citation rules
  • assisting with basic technical issues related to the library (e.g., downloading PDFs, saving items)
  • referring patrons to other UMGC departments (e.g., Effective Writing Center) or to external organizations as needed
  • providing in-depth consultations to students, faculty, or staff by appointment

Limits to services

UMGC librarians cannot:

  • select resources for students, conduct research on their behalf, or provide documents or a list of documents on a given topic; rather, students will be given information about how to conduct their own research
  • proofread or provide detailed feedback for an entire reference list
  • proofread, edit, or otherwise provide feedback on a research paper or other assignment (see the Writing Center)
  • interpret project/assignment instructions
  • provide answers for quizzes, tests, exams, etc.
  • provide tutoring (see Tutoring)
  • violate copyright law
  • act in a manner that violates the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics

Patron privacy

  • The UMGC Library respects patron privacy and confidentiality and observes applicable laws, policies, and professional codes of conduct.
  • The UMGC Library collects and maintains certain patron information for quality control and security purposes.
  • Those who use the UMGC Library’s services may be asked to complete a survey to assess the quality of service experienced or to otherwise provide feedback regarding the library. Survey respondents may choose to provide contact information if they wish to be contacted regarding their responses. Any identifying information provided by survey respondents will be removed before their responses are shared either internally or externally.
  • UMGC may be obligated to release certain patron information to law enforcement agents in response to a search warrant or subpoena, such as those issued in accordance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. 1861, as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56). That law prohibits UMGC staff from informing you that such a request was received.