Skip to Main Content

Peer Research Consultants

Training and information for PRCs


There may be times you have provided an answer that could potentially be built upon by the subject librarian. You may feel that the loop / conversation is closed because AN answer was provided but there could be more helpful information.

  1. Call the subject librarian to see if they are immediately available.
  2. If not available, say "Let me take your contact information to have your subject librarian follow-up with you."
  3. Check the subject librarian's calendar, and let the patron know when the subject librarian is available.
  4. Let them know that a referral is not imposing on the librarians and that a referral is a natural part of our reference services.

Strong referrals:

  • Are a strong recommendation rather than an option
  • Put follow-up in the hands of the subject librarian rather than the patron
  • Promote the benefits of follow-up with the subject librarian, rather than apologizing for doing the referral

Just like when we handle library cards that do not belong to the patron, you want to approach this with customer service, tact, and understanding.

What NOT to say:

  • "Would you like a librarian follow up?"
  • "There's not much more I can do today, but there's always our chat service."
  • "Here's your librarian's card. Feel free to contact him / her with any questions."

Each of these examples can make the patron feel like we don't care or are really not interested in seeing their needs truly met. Think how it would feel to have these statements directed at you.

Good examples of referrals:

  • When time is up, the question is definitely needing the librarian, or you feel like it should be referred:
    • "We've got a good start, but I know your subject librarian could do more for you. Let me get your contact information and I'll have them get in touch with you. <Get the information. While they write that down, look at the librarian's availability> Great! I see they are next available <at a time, certain hours, best days>. They'll be in touch shortly."
  • If they follow that with "I don't want to bother them":
    • "It's not a bother or imposition at all. Librarians enjoy the opportunity to work on challenging questions. Referrals are a natural / regular part of our reference services."
    • "They don't see it as a bother. In fact, I'm sure they'll have suggestions for you that I didn't even consider."
  1. Start by going to the UND website and under "Login", click on "Starfish".
  2. Login by using the same credentials as Blackboard and Campus Connection. 
  3. In the search bar, look up the specific subject librarian that you would like to contact.
  4. Once the subject librarian is found. Click on "Schedule Appointment"


        5. From there you can click on the services that you need. Then click "Continue". 

      6. Then you can choose what day/ time works best and click "Continue".

      7. You can then decide the location of the appointment and can include any information about the assignment. Then click "Confirm".

When PRCs are staffing the Ask Us Desk and need general assistance, the librarian on-call is the first person to go to.

If students are asking a detailed and specific question on a subject area, the subject librarian would be appropriate to go to.

For Eng130 students, the on-call librarian is the first person to refer to, unless there is an unusual situation.

All Eng130 students should find resources at this library rather than be referred to the Med Library or Law Library.  If their subject is too specific that this library can't serve their needs, it is time to discuss changing their topic to one that is manageable for a freshman level assignment. 

Referrals to Law and School of Medicine Librarians

When and how to refer patrons better served by law or medical librarians takes practice.  An initial question about policy or law may develop into a research need for a specialist. Look at the links below for handouts on which library is best and a good referral method.  Either way, never give Medical or Legal advice!

Follow Message to Librarian

Sometimes it would be appropriate to send a message to a Subject Librarian. Here is an example email:

Dear Kristen,

A student named <name> may need some follow-up assistance on the topic of <xyz>.  We already covered <xyz>.