Our Guiding principles
• Equality of Access: Reference material should be accessible to everyone regardless of geographical location, disability, or background. Increasingly, this may mean sending you the information in alternative formats e.g. a scanned image, a photocopy, via the Internet or delivering the item for use in your local library only.
• Availability: In some cases, books cannot be loaned from reference collections if they are in constant demand. Examples include Building Regulations, standard current reference books, current statistical material and Acts of Parliament. In these cases we would normally offer the information to you in alternative formats.
• Preservation: The Council has a responsibility to preserve material for future generations and to ensure that items which are important to the history and culture of the Highlands are kept safely. The value, condition and rarity of a book has an important bearing, therefore, on its general availability.
Reference books need to be as current as possible - any items that are considered out-of-date may be brought to the attention of your local library staff. We also have a continuous programme of sending reference books for binding to preserve items of local interest.
New editions of some reference books are purchased annually for the Reference Room at Inverness Library. This resource exists to serve the whole network of Highland Libraries. We buy multiple copies of popular items and distribute them to other libraries; these items are often circulated to smaller libraries after a new edition arrives.
Local Collection reference books are bought both for the Network and for relevant local libraries. The Network copy will usually go to the Reference Room at Inverness Library and local libraries will also have reference copies, marked Local Collection. In most cases there will also be lending copies of local history books or books of local interest. As some locally produced pamphlets are not sold or publicised outside a small local area, please let us know of any new local materials you are aware of.
New Reference Books are being published all the time and we welcome suggestions for purchase. Reference and information material is also available on-line, over the Internet, and we subscribe to several resources which are available in libraries through the People’s Network computers or remotely, in your own home. These electronic resources are free to library members. Follow this link to find out more.
Paper versus electronic
Reference information is, increasingly, available in electronic format and can provide more up-to-date information far more easily and to a much wider audience than the printed equivalent. All Highland Libraries provide its users with free computer access allowing access to such e-resources but if you require help in accessing these resources please ask the staff.
Certain material previously provided in printed format is now only available in electronic version. Other types of printed reference material date too quickly to be of use to our customers. In order to ensure Best Value, equality of access and wider availability, some material will now no longer be provided in printed book form. We endeavour to improve our services in line with the policies above but should you wish to discuss this further please contact your local library in the first instance. For further clarification you may wish to contact us at the addresses below.
Reference Enquiries: useful contacts
Inverness Library: Reference Room
Tel: 01463 236463
Library Support Unit
The Highland Council
Library Support Unit
31A Harbour Road
Tel: 01463 235713
Please DO NOT send personal information to the above email addresses, as the security of email cannot be guaranteed.