Friday, May 17, 2013

Advice vs Information

As a librarian, I'm prohibited from giving out legal advice.  I can understand why.  A person could get into a lot of trouble if they were given incorrect advice.

As a librarian, I can give out information.

The line between advice and information can be quite fuzzy.

A question like "I'm getting a divorce, and I need a lawyer.  Do you know a good one?" can be both informative and include advice.  As a librarian, I would answer this question one way.  With the information.  Such as, "here's a list of local lawyers, a legal help group and the web address to a great legal help website, Michigan Legal Help".

The advice is the part where you say "oh, I've heard Gary Doe is a great lawyer".  Don't do that.  As a librarian, you can't give advice.

You stick to information, which is something that you can tell everyone, no matter what side of the question they ask.  Such as where legal help books would be, how to find a statute, a list of lawyers, help finding a certain form for court that the judge has requested.  Those are all information that we can give out.

A tip to knowing whether something is advice or information is this: if it starts with 'should I...' or 'is this a good idea'...those are both advice.  You might be able to move those around, flip around the question to turn it from advice to information by rephrasing the question posed, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment