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Reference service in all types of libraries could be improved if librarians actively adopted the mindset of the Golden Rule. The Rule is expressed in some form in many world religions and instructs us to treat others how we would like to be treated. Such an approach has applicability not only in face-to-face reference transactions, but also in virtual reference settings. The empathetic reference librarian should be alert to both verbal and non-verbal clues which can indicate how a patron would like to be treated.


This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Reference Librarian 45, no. 93 (2006), 129-136, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:



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