Reference Services



Reference Services Overview

Foley Library staff are available to assist users with directional, information, and reference questions via phone, email, 24/7 chat, or walk-up. In depth research questions will be directed to schedule an appointment with a librarian, faculty librarians will make every effort to reply to these requests within 48-hours excluding weekends and holidays.

Service Philosophy & Scope of Service

The Foley Center Library strives to provide accurate and personalized reference service to meet the University’s research, teaching and services mission. Priority is given to current Gonzaga students, faculty, and staff, as well as special borrowers and alumni. Reference assistance is provided to community users as time and staffing allow. Reference questions from community users which exceed our staffing capacity will be referred to the user’s nearest public library.

Types of questions we will answer may include:


A directional question asks for information about how to get somewhere or do something. 

Directional Examples: Where is the bookstore? How do I connect my laptop to the wireless printer? How do I check out a book? Where are course reserves?


An informational question asks for information about a topic. 

Informational Examples: How do I use the online catalog? Can you help me find an article on the impact of climate change on the Arctic? Do you have any books on the history of racism?


Reference questions are questions that require the staff person or student employee to use their knowledge of the library's resources and their expertise in reference to find the answer. 

Reference Examples: I'm looking for information on the history of the United Nations. Can you help me find five scholarly sources? Can you help me find the original source for a quote I found online? Can you help me find biographies of key players in the women's suffrage movement?


A research question is a question that a study or project aims to answer. It is the focal point of what the student or faculty is researching and guides their search for answers.

Research Examples: How does a diverse workplace impact job satisfaction? How can standardized tests improve education? What is the cause of increased violence among teens?

Types of questions that will not be answered may include:

  • Requests for financial, legal, medical, personal, or veterinary advice.
  • Requests for appraisals of private property of users.
  • Requests for librarians or staff to complete assignments, author research papers, conduct your research, or format citations.
  • Requests for translation services.