Where Knowledge and Character Matter ®


Reference Department

The Reference Department in the J.D. Boyd Library provides a variety of services to users with informational, research, directional and recreational needs in the accessing retrieving and interpreting the library's resources. Reference Department staff is available at the information desk assist users in locating information on the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), print resources, electronic databases, interlibrary loans, internet and the library physical facilities. Reference assistance is available for users to meet information needs in each subject discipline at Alcorn State University. There are a variety of materials housed in the Reference Department including handbooks, directories, atlases, bibliographies, and much more.

Information Desk

The Information Desk is located on the main floor of the library. The reference librarian's office, ready reference collection, bibliographies, library user aids, and workstations are all located behind the information desk. The ready reference collection contains those frequently requested reference books and other materials. These materials are limited to a two hour time period when in great demand. For statistical purposes, the reference department asks that users sign a usage card when requesting materials from the ready reference collection. A librarian is always available at the information desk to assist users with the print and electronic resources.

Reference Collection

The Reference Collection is located on the main floor of the library. Books with the letter "R" preceding the call number denotes reference. Books in the reference collection are not circulated. The reference collection is housed in open-stacks for accessibility to users. Map files, agricultural files, annual reports, picture files and cities in Mississippi files are all located at the end of the reference stacks to the right. The vertical files are located to the left of the information desk.


Tours of the library facility are available in the Reference Department. A tour of the library is useful in introducing the facility, resources, and services available in the J.D. Boyd Library. For additional information, please call the Reference Department at 601.877.6357.


The J.D. Boyd Library subscribes to over 81 databases. They are accessible in the library and through remote access. Some of the available databases include: EbscoHost, Ethnic Newswatch, Jstor, Credo, Science Direct, firstSearch, etc.

Online Public Access Catalog

The Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) is located left of the information desk and in the computer lab. The catalog indexes all the books and materials available in the J.D. Boyd Library. OPAC lets users know what materials are in the library and where they are stationed. For assistance, users may ask a librarian at the information desk at 601.877.6357, or email at refdesk@alcorn.edu.

Interlibrary Loan Services

Interlibrary Loan Services are available in the Reference Department to assist users with materials not readily available in library. This service allows the J.D. Boyd Library to borrow from other libraries materials needed for research that are not a part of the collection. Attempts are made to secure the needed data from libraries in our immediate proximity, thus expediting the loan. Users wishing to make a request should complete an interlibrary loan request form (available in the Reference Department) and submit to the reference staff. Faculty, staff and students are eligible to use the interlibrary loan service. All materials borrowed are subject to the terms and conditions of the lending institution. Users should make requests at least two weeks in advance of the date materials are needed.

Library Instruction

Library instruction is an integral part of academic librarianship. The role of library instruction is to provide students with, not only the necessary skills to complete college work successfully, but to prepare them to make effective lifelong use of information systems and resources. The reference librarian works with faculty to provide sessions targeting materials in specific disciplines. Individualized and group instruction is provided to students, faculty, staff and community users.

User Aids

The Reference Department provides user aids at the information desk to help users work independently when using the collection. There is information on the databases, librarians, reference department, subscription list, general library information, OPAC, departmental policy, procedure manuals, etc. This information is available to all users as a guide to the resources and services in the J.D. Boyd Library.

Ask a Librarian

Ask a Librarian is an electronic service available in the J.D. Boyd Library. Users may ask a reference question via email at any time, whether the library is open or not. Every attempt will be made to respond to requests as soon as possible. All email reference questions may be sent to refdesk@alcorn.edu.