MEDICAL AND LEGAL RESOURCES
In answering medical and legal questions it is necessary to have a good understanding of the difference between providing
information and giving advice. As with all questions, we can't give our own personal opinions. We help patrons find information in our
sources, but we don't interpret the information for them. This means, for example, that when a patron asks for the name of a good
lawyer, you can refer them to a lawyers referral center, or to a directory, but you can't share the name of your own lawyer. If you read
something to a patron from a medical dictionary, you can't tell the patron that the symptoms sound similar to the ones described by
You can do the following:
- Help locate books or articles on the subject.
- Show patrons how to use the books and the indexes.
- Help patrons use directories of professionals.
- Help patrons identify other resources in the community that can help.
- Refer these questions as you would other questions, being sure patrons understand that they will be getting library information, but not
professional medical or legal advice.
- Caution your patrons that information in these areas is complex and changes quickly.
- Sample caution statements that you can use with your patrons in dealing with legal and medical information are listed further on
- Be sure you understand your own library's policies and procedures on
handling these questions.
We can help patrons find medical and legal information, but must avoid giving medical or legal advice.