Helping Library Users with Legal Questions: Practical Advice for Research, Programming, and Outreach

Libraries Unlimited. Jul. 2021. 193p. ISBN 9781440872006. pap. $55. PRO MEDIA
Hamilton’s (strategic svcs. librarian, Pikes Peak Lib. Dist., CO) clear, concise work will aid librarians interested in learning more about the often-complicated task of fielding legal questions from patrons. Hamilton explains why patrons might ask for legal materials, then describes what kinds of resources might be helpful for a library to own, as well as types of legal outreach and collaboration that could be conducted for the benefit of patrons. She emphasizes that library staff are permitted to offer legal reference assistance but are prohibited from giving legal advice; throughout the book, sample reference interviews demonstrate ways to navigate the boundary between the two. Of particular note is the detailed discussion of legal resources and their uses; there is also a substantial appendix of federal and state legal resources that are available online.
VERDICT This guide would be helpful to anyone who provides reference services, especially those new to legal reference.
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