Choose Your Own Adventure: Alternatives to Legal Advice
Public Libraries, March/April 2018, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 7-10
Posted: 12 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 7, 2018
Although librarians cannot provide legal advice, there are ways that librarians can support patrons seeking legal information. This article addresses the self-represented litigants' desire to tell their story, a need that goes unsatisfied through the traditional legal system. Patrons seek legal answers from librarians, but often they have a need to verbally unload the heft of their legal scenario. Empathy and active listening by librarians are key in these situations, and so is pursuing a strategy that will lead to the most successful exchange. Success often requires research and referrals in place of legal answers. This article presents a comparison between legal advice interactions in libraries and the Choose Your Own Adventure genre by likening the potential paths and outcomes. The options in these exchanges are static, and bring frustration from both sides of the desk, but these interactions can be concluded favorably without crossing advice lines.
Keywords: Legal Advice, Library Reference, Librarians, Pro Se Patrons, Choose Your Own Adventure
JEL Classification: Z39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation