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The Berkshire Athenaeum recognizes the existence of a local population that is homebound due to physical disabilities.  Since this population is unable to make use of the in-house collection of materials, the parameters of REFERENCE SERVICES POLICY & PROCEDURES are expanded in the following ways:

1.   TELEPHONE INFORMATION SERVICE - ON HOLD: Reference staff will spend up to five minutes while the caller is on hold working on an information request for patrons who identify themselves as homebound due to a physical disability.

2.   TELEPHONE INFORMATION SERVICE - CALL BACK: Reference staff will spend up to thirty minutes, including the photocopying of materials as appropriate, filling an information request for a homebound patron who will be called back. 

3.   SELECTING APPROPRIATE FORMATS: While it is not the Athenaeum's intent to be invasive, so that Reference staff may supply the most appropriate material types or formats it may be helpful for the homebound patron to describe the nature of the disability or to explain which formats would be most helpful.  This determination should be part of the staff's normal reference interview.

4.  PHOTOCOPYING AND PRINTING: Homebound patrons may request photocopying, printing from microformat, or printing from computer.  The costs associated with these services are outlined on the Athenaeum’s Schedule of Fees.  Options and costs should be discussed with the homebound patron as part of the reference interview.   The Athenaeum will be unable to accommodate requests to copy or print more than twenty-five pages.

5. SERVICE DELIVERY: To assure the homebound patron has access to the widest variety of reference services the Athenaeum strongly encourages those patrons secure the assistance of a family member or friend to facilitate an information search and to convey the results of that search. These supplementary procedures are specifically targeted to reference services and are not intended to take the place of procedures in place for the lending of materials from the Athenaeum's circulating collections.


Updated June 2010.  

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Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's Public Library, Pittsfield, Massachusetts