Patrons often come to the library with specific problems at hand. One of these being health questions. As a result, librarians face the dilemma of wanting to supply good and factual information without overstepping their bounds. Librarians are not medical professionals and cannot dispense medical advice. Furthermore, what is the librarian to do when the patron seeks medical information that isn’t scientifically vetted?
The main issue is, that if the patron is coming to the public library for medical advice, that these patrons often have a lack of knowledge that they’re seeking to fulfill and cannot fully articulate the questions that they have. In these cases, physical resources are better because the patrons in question were not tech savvy or did not have access to technology. Researchers found that additional training for the librarians was always beneficial. Furthermore, for librarians that come across this issue often, it is wise to create partnerships with medical libraries that may have additional resources and staff that can answer more questions for the patron.
Rubenstein, E.L. (2018). “I want to provide patrons with good information”: Public library staff as health information facilitators. Library Quarterly, 88(2), 125-141. Doi:10.1086/696579