The Follow up Question

Don't assume you have fully answered the patron's question until you ask the follow-up question. The only way to be certain that you have done your job well is to ask!

After you have provided the information you think will be answers the question, ALWAYS ask:

"DOES THIS COMPLETELY ANSWER YOUR QUESTION?"

You may phrase it differently. If you are working with a student doing research and you have provided some information, you might need to say,

Will this information help get you started on your project? or

Does this information look useful for your work?


You need to offer your patron the chance to tell you that the information was not just what was wanted. Reference studies have shown that library workers who ask this specific follow-up question meet their patron's needs most often.

Make sure you ask an appropriate follow-up question for each reference transaction.

Go to The six pieces of evidence.

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This page was last updated April 28, 2003.