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Ready Reference Service in Library

Ready Reference Service

Reference service is a process in which readers receive their information through personal contact of the Reference librarian. There are queries of many types, varieties, and are time bound. Reference department always make efforts to remove the difficulties of the readers to fulfill their requirements.

Therefore, all such information which are provided to readers immediately are called Ready reference service. American Library Association called it “Direct Reference Service.” Dr. S.R. Ranganathan has defined it as “Ready Reference Service is reference service finished or replied in a very short time in a minute if possible.” Therefore, Ready reference service is important reference service and it is related to such information’s which are provided directly by the Reference librarian and that too in short period. It also includes such reference services which direct the readers to reference sources immediately and information is gathered within short time.

Ready reference service includes the following queries:

  • a. Which are demanded direct.
  • b. Which are demanded by sharp medias.
  • c. Which are simple.
  • d. Which are answered on the table of Reference librarian.
  • e. Which involves short answers.
  • f. Which are responded within short time or within 5 minutes or less.

Examples — Queries

  1. How many states are in Indian territory?
  2. Literary percentage of Bangladesh?
  3. Address of Lucknow University?
  4. Library Education Centers in India?

All such answers can be given within short time. Reference librarian either refers the names of reference sources or answers the query immediately.

Reference sources: Ready Reference queries are always Tact-finding queries’. Louis in his book ‘Basic Reference Service’ has given such reference sources which are helpful in giving reply of queries within short time. Important references sources are:

            a. Dictionary

            b. Directories / Hand books

            c. Census reports

            d. Year books / Annuals

            e. Biographies

            f. Gazetteer

            g. Atlas

            h. Encyclopedias, etc.

Need of Ready Reference Service:

It is seen that readers have knowledge of books which are generally concerned with their studies. But sometimes the reader needs such information’s which are not known to them and their queries are also not related to their concerned books. Reference books are such books which are referred and consulted as and when any information is needed. Therefore, readers are not aware of reference books. Moreover, reference service sources are also arranged differently which is also not properly known to the readers.

Thus, reference service is an essential service to all readers who come to library for their studies.

Procedures of Ready Reference Service:Reference

Ready Reference service is basically completed in three phases. All these three phases are interrelated to and sometimes used together. They are:

(a) Preparation

(b) Service

(c) Assimilation.


Preparation In this stage librarian prepares himself by:

    1. Keeping knowledge about the department and its activities:
      i. having knowledge of reference sources.
      ii. maintaining the reference counter and reference diary.
      iii. maintaining himself with current knowledge.
    2. Organizing the Reference department:
      i. by maintaining the reference department.
      ii. by arranging the reference sources systematically.
      iii. knowledge of publication of new reference sources and the latest editions of reference sources.
    3. Arranging the literature which has not been organized but is very useful for ready reference service.

Service: After preparation, reference service is provided. Service is given as under:

  • i. Analyzing the reader’s query.
  • ii. Determining the reference source pertaining to some information.
  • iii. Informing the reader about reference source.
  • iv. Guide the reader how to consult the reference source, so that reader may himself consult the reference source independently.

Assimilation: It is related with following things:

  • a. Recording of information received.
  • b. Sharing the views and efforts made in tracing the information’s.
  • c. Reference service is not complete by receiving the information but it should be kept in mind that this information may be used by other readers also.
  • d. One information may be developed by more than one reader. Hence, information should always be living/ ready and recorded.
  • e. As much as Reference librarian gains experience in providing reference service, it should be discussed with other staff members.


  • Sharma, C. K. (2006). Reference Service and Sources. Atlantic Publishers & Dist.

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