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READ Scale  Bulleted Format


Please notify Dr. Gerlich if you have interest in using the READ Scale at your library

  • Answers that require the least amount of effort;
  • No specialized knowledge skills or expertise;
  • No consultation of resources;
  • Less than 5 minutes;

  • Directional inquiries;
  • Library or service hours;
  • Service point locations;
  • Rudimentary machine assistance (locating/using copiers, how to print or supplying paper).


  • Answers given which require more effort;
  • Require only minimal specific knowledge skills or expertise;
  • Answers may need nominal resource consultation.

  • Call number inquiries;
  • Item location;
  • Minor machine & computer equipment assistance;
  • General library or policy information;
  • More complex machine assistance (how to save to a disk or email records, launching programs or re-booting).



  • Answers in this category require some effort and time;
  • Consultation of ready reference resource materials is needed;
  • Minimal instruction of the user may be required;
  • Reference knowledge and skills come into play.

  • Answers that require specific reference resources (encyclopedias or databases);
  • Basic instruction on searching the online catalog;
  • Direction to relevant subject databases;
  • Introduction to web searching for a certain item;
  • How to scan and save images;
  • Increasingly complex technical problems (assistance with remote use).



  • Answers or research requests require the consultation of multiple resources
  • Subject specialists may need to be consulted and more thorough instruction and assistance occurs.
  • Reference knowledge and skills needed.
  • Efforts can be more supportive in nature for the user, or if searching for a finite answer, difficult to find.
  • Exchanges can be more instruction based as staffs teach users more in-depth research skills. Examples
  • Instructing users how to utilize complex search techniques for the online catalog, databases and the web;
  • How to cross-reference resources and track related supporting materials;
  • Services outside of reference become utilized (ILL, Tech services, etc), collegial consultation;
  • Assisting users in focusing or broadening searches (helping to re-define or clarify a topic).



  • More substantial effort and time spent assisting with research and finding information.
  • On the high end of the scale, subject specialists need to be consulted.
  • Consultation appointments with individuals might be scheduled.
  • Efforts are cooperative in nature, between the user and librarian and or working with colleagues.
  • Multiple resources used.
  • Research, reference knowledge and skills needed.
  • Dialogue between the user and librarian may take on a 'back and forth question' dimension.

  • False leads
  • Interdisciplinary consultations / research;
  • Question evolution;
  • Expanding searches / resources beyond those locally available;
  • Graduate research;
  • Difficult outreach problems (access issues that need to be investigated).



  • The most effort and time expended.
  • Inquiries or requests for information can't be answered on the spot.
  • At this level, staff may be providing in-depth research and services for specific needs of the clients.
  • This category covers some 'special library' type research services.
  • Primary (original documents) and secondary resource materials may be used.

  • Creating bibliographies and bibliographic education;
  • In-depth faculty and PhD student research;
  • Relaying specific answers and supplying supporting materials for publication, exhibits etc; working with outside vendors;
  • Collaboration and on-going research.