ASERL Reciprocal Reference Pilot Program

This program was discontinued on December 31, 2020.


A group of ASERL reference librarians found value in retaining a small number of print reference titles that they feel better meet their needs to respond to complex patron inquiries than electronic reference sources.  As a result, ASERL created the Reciprocal Reference Program in 2013, as an offshoot of the “Scholars Trust” print journal retention program.  Many of the tenets of this program reflect the experience of ASERL in developing the Scholars Trust agreement.

Program Summary:

  • Participating ASERL libraries agree to retain specified reference titles in print through December 31, 2020.
  • Participating libraries shall not charge any fees for this service.  All costs and workload for staffing and maintaining the retained materials will be borne by the library that undertakes the agreement.
  • Only libraries that are retaining items under the terms of this program are granted the reciprocal reference services described here.
  • Each participating library shall designate a role within the library who shall serve as primary contact person (e.g., Head of Reference) and a back-up contact (e.g., AUL for Collections.)
  • When a librarian affiliated with a participating library determines that assistance with a retained print reference title is needed, the librarian should contact the designated person at the retaining library.  The receiving library is expected to provide priority service to the request, providing an answer within 5 business days, but preferably sooner.
  • Items that are to be retained under this agreement will be housed in a secured location that permits ready access by librarians when needed.
  • A participating library may opt to discontinue their participation in this agreement at any time without penalty, but must provide written notice to the Steering Committee a minimum of 24 months prior to withdrawing from the agreement.

Retained Print Reference Title List — Please see the Google Spreadsheet.
Contacts at Participating Libraries to receive questions —  SEE CONTACT LIST.

ASERL libraries that had participated when the program was active:

  1.    Auburn University
  2.    Clemson University
  3.    Emory University
  4.    Florida State University
  5.    University of Alabama – Birmingham
  6.    University of Alabama
  7.    University of Kentucky
  8.    University of Mississippi
  9.    UNC Greensboro
  10.    University of South Florida
  11.    University of Virginia