While librarians aim to offer great service and deliver information needs on the best possible scale, we are still inherently limited. Patrons are often looking for legal answers and help, understandably seeking out librarians. Unfortunately, we are not legal counsel and can not interpret the law. The direct answers patrons want is often expensive to obtain, wrapped up in case law, and subject to experts. Today I was posed with a question and could only point the patron towards resources to seek out, other libraries to contact, and other recommendations. However, it left the patron unsatisfied, as they wanted a yes or no answer. Legal issues are almost always never that simple.
Patrons at the public library are normally in search of a best-seller, DVD, or CD. Once in awhile, they pose questions that involve deeper research and searching. There comes a point when public librarians have to stop, given the amount of time needed to answer their question or the need for an authority. Librarians aim to guide but can’t always answer.