Reference by Mail

Reference by Mail

A Service for Library Users Who Are Incarcerated

Sacramento Public Library Reference by Mail Service staff are happy to answer your reference questions. In order to offer you the best service possible, we ask that you follow Rules and Guidelines below.

Sacramento Public Library
Attn: Reference by Mail
828 I Street, Sacramento CA 95814

1. Limits: We will respond to a maximum of 2 letters per sender, per month, answering a maximum of 3 questions per letter. Questions will be answered in the order they are written. Thank you for your patience; limited staff support may result in delayed response times, and additional letters will not be answered or returned. Please do not send the same question more than once. Please do not send anything you want returned.

2. Violations: If any part of your letter requests prohibited information or violates these Rules and Guidelines, no part of the letter will be answered or returned. Three (3) requests for prohibited information (or three (3) violations of the Rules and Guidelines) will result in being restricted from the Sacramento Public Library Reference by Mail Service for a minimum of three months. Continued violations will result in longer restriction periods, up to and including permanent ban. Exception: Rule 3.

3. Image requests: We will not send photos, artwork, illustrations, products, etc. of: sexually explicit images, pornography, scantily-clad people/characters wearing bikinis, lingerie, see-through clothing, or other inappropriate attire. When requesting images by celebrity name, attempt to clarify common names by indicating what they are famous for (ex: Brittany Smith, actress; Veronica Rodriguez, tennis player). Requests for prohibited images of any kind will result in an immediate three-month restriction from Reference by Mail Services. (See Rule 5-D.)

4. We will: a) provide a list of pen pal organizations; b) send contact information for celebrities, politicians, and other public figures; c) provide contact information for organizations from which you can request books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

5. We will not: a) contact a third party for you; b) send mail or correspondence on your behalf; c) act as a pen pal or contact a pen pal service for you; d) send any adult materials, including images, artwork, text, or the name of companies that produce adult materials; e) retrieve information or images from social media; f) send information promoting or portraying violence or the use of weapons, including lists or images of weapons or ammunition, or any information pertaining to acquiring weapons; g) send directions or maps (except for constellations or fictional worlds); h) send information about fictional or coded languages (ex: Klingon, Elvish, etc.); i) send contact information for or do internet searches about private individuals; j) perform searches for the patron about themselves or other inmates; k) send responses to non-carceral facility addresses.

6. Legal or Medical Advice/Opinions: We will not send legal or medical advice or opinions of any kind. We will provide standard definitions of legal words and phrases, documented information on codes, regulations, Supreme Court decisions, etc., when requested by specific name or code number only. We will provide basic overviews of medical diagnoses (symptoms, tests, treatments, etc.) when requested by specific name only.

7. Copyright: Regarding materials for which copyright is a concern, we can send a maximum of 10 double-sided copied pages; we reserve the right to impose a lower limit on number of pages sent.

Rev: 2/9/2024