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Legal Reference for Librarians: How and Where to Find the Answers
Paul D. Healey
Item Number: 978-0-8389-1117-4
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $72.00
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232 pages
7" x 10"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1117-4
Year Published: 2014
AP Categories: A, B, C, D, I, J, Z

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In recent years the number of Americans who have decided to handle their own legal affairs without the help of a lawyer has skyrocketed. Ranging from people writing their own wills or drafting a contract to those trying to represent themselves in court, they’re going to public and academic libraries for answers. As both an attorney and a librarian, Healy’s background makes him uniquely qualified to advise library staff on providing users with the legal information they seek, and in this handbook, he
  • Provides a concise orientation on legal research, including strategies for finding information quickly and a handpicked compendium of the best resources
  • Offers guidance on how to provide advice on legal research while steering clear of liability
  • Covers federal legal reference as well as all 50 states, with a comprehensive list of web-based legal resources
Library staff can provide valuable and ethical legal reference guidance with the practical guidance in this book.

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Table of Contents


Part 1 Legal and Ethical Issues

Chapter 1
Who Is Asking Legal Reference Questions, and Why Does It Matter?

Chapter 2
Parameters of Legal Reference Service

Chapter 3
Tips and Tools for Serving the Pro Se Library User

Part 2 Legal Research Basics

Chapter 4
The Structure of Law and the Legal Research Process

Chapter 5
Secondary Legal Resources

Chapter 6
Statutes and Constitutions

Chapter 7
Case Law

Chapter 8
Regulations and Administrative Law

Appendix: Online Legal Resources

About the Author

Paul D. Healey is both an attorney and a librarian and is currently senior instructional services librarian and associate professor of library administration at the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Law Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Professional Liability Issues for Librarians and Information Professionals, as well as a number of scholarly and professional articles on a variety of librarianship-related topics, most notably librarian liability and librarian ethics. He was the editorial director of AALL Spectrum, the official monthly magazine of the American Association of Law Libraries, from 2001 to 2007, and worked closely with authors on content for the magazine. He has an extensive background in professional speaking and has been a featured speaker at conferences and seminars across the United States and Canada.

"Healey is both a librarian and an attorney, and his expertise in both areas will be evident to anyone using this specialized handbook, which is a very readable and concise guide to legal research in the context of library reference work … a handy and recommended purchase for both new and experienced legal researchers in the library. "
— Booklist

"There are a few other recent publications available which discuss legal reference issues for libraries and librarians ... but none have the clear focus and organization of this one. Legal Reference for Librarians is highly recommended as an addition to any librarian’s ready-reference shelf."
— Reference Reviews

”Suggestions on how to handle different types of legal reference questions, such as what to say and what to avoid, are a real strength of this book … This guide is highly recommended to anyone needing to source American legal information. It is also excellent in explaining professional issues associated with answering legal reference questions and is recommended to anyone needing to come to grips with these issues."
— Australian Library Journal

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