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Reference Policies

Types of reference services || Resources || Reference Services Table

The primary purpose of reference services is to support the research, teaching, and learning needs of Stanford faculty, students, staff, and other individuals currently affiliated with the University. The reference staff strives to provide the highest quality reference services to meet users’ research needs. The library offers various types of reference services and resources. To determine which services you qualify for, please see the reference services table below.

Please consult library hours and locations for reference hours. Users may also submit reference questions anytime by using Ask Us.

Note: For Special Collections/University Archives, please see its services and policies.  The Coordinate Libraries — Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Jackson Library (Business), Lane Medical Library, Robert Crown Law Library and SLAC Library — have their own policies. Please contact them for more information.

Types of Reference Services

Ready Reference — Requires a few minutes to answer using standard reference resources.

In-Depth Reference — Requires intensive research assistance. This type of request may require referral to subject specialists and/or may require scheduling an appointment.

Email Reference – Provides reference assistance via email.

Instruction, Workshops, Tours — Provides instruction on library resources and research tools. These sessions are limited to faculty, students, staff, and other individuals currently associated with the University unless otherwise specified.


Electronic ResourcesOnline catalogs, databases, and journals are available in all library units. However, licensed electronic resources are only available to current Stanford faculty, students, staff and other authorized Stanford-affiliated users. For detailed information, please consult the policy on access to electronic resources.

Interlibrary Borrowing — Faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars are eligible to obtain materials not available at Stanford University and needed for University-related research, study, or work. Users affiliated with the SLAC, and the Law, Business, and Medical schools should submit their requests to those libraries.

Government Document Depository Collections - Stanford library participates the federal depository library program (FDLP). Please check Jonsson library website for reference and access information.

Reference Services Table

Patron Category Ready
Instruction Off Campus Licensed Electronic
Stanford Faculty Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stanford Students Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stanford Staff Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Visiting Scholars Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Board of Trustees Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Continuing Studies Students Yes Yes Yes No No
Continuing Studies, MLA Students Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cooperative Program Members Yes Yes No No No
Stanford Alumni Yes No No No No
Stanford Spouses, Partners, and Children Yes No No No No
Associates of SUL Yes No No No No
RLG Central Staff Yes No No No No
Summer Conference Attendees Yes No No No No
Purchased Card Holders Yes No No No No
Public Yes No No No No

* Requires the set up of proxy to access electronic resources.

Last modified: July 5, 2007

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