Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Announcement: Acting LawMatters Program Coordinator

Hello everyone,

It has been an absolute pleasure being your LawMatters Program Coordinator for the past 2.5 years. I have learned so much working with you and I am so glad I was able to connect with many of you in person, over the phone, or by email. I always enjoy chatting about legal collections!

Libraries are the key to informed and connected communities and it has been incredibly rewarding working with public libraries to ensure that legal information is accessible.

I am leaving this position to pursue other opportunities. As of April 9th, your Acting LawMatters Program Coordinator will be Megan Smiley. I have every confidence that she will do an amazing job as your LawMatters Program Coordinator – you may recognize her from our webinars on Legal Collections 101!

Megan and I have worked closely together in client services and collection development – we are currently sharing the LawMatters Coordinator duties as I show her the ropes!

Please join me in welcoming Megan!

Thank you.

Megan's message:

Hello everyone! I've been at Courthouse Libraries nearly three years now, first as a circulation clerk, then as a reference librarian, and now as your Acting LawMatters Coordinator! I am very excited to get to know all of you and help you support your communities with their legal information needs.

In my time here at Courthouse Libraries I have learned a lot about legal resources and, most importantly, how to connect people with timely and relevant legal information. I have seen how crucial access to this information can be, and I am delighted to be able to partner with public libraries in this role to make legal information more accessible.

When I don't have my nose stuck in a legal book, I enjoy true-crime podcasts and exploring the forests of British Columbia.

If you have any questions, or just want to say hello, you can reach me at

2018 LawMatters Grant Offers

It’s that time of year again! Yesterday, LawMatters sent out grant offers to public libraries to be put towards building legal information collections.

Can my library participate?*

A Grant Agreement Letter has been emailed to the chief librarians/directors of public libraries in BC along with the following:

  • Selection Guidelines
  • Law Books for Libraries (LBL) for 2018 (UPDATED)

All documents except for the Grant Agreement Letter are available online to view/download from the LawMatters website.

* Please Note:
Our grant distribution must be compliant with Canadian Revenue Agency’s guidelines for charitable giving:
Courthouse Libraries is a registered charity and, to remain compliant with CRA rules, our grants may only be distributed to qualified donees, which includes registered charities and municipalities.

If your library has already provided LawMatters with your charity name and number OR your municipality number you are already eligible for the grant.

The Process:

1) Agreement Letter

Sign & Send us a copy
Keep a copy for your records

2) Receive your grant

We send you a cheque for the amount specified in your agreement letter

3) Collect & Consult

Use LBL 2018 as your guide to purchasing materials with the grant
See something not on the list? Check our Guidelines and contact the Program Coordinator before purchasing

4) Report

Let us know how you spent your grant
Send us a report in by October 29 with the titles you purchased and for which of your locations (if applicable)

Please let me know if you prefer to have a print copy of the Grant Agreement Letter sent to you by mail. Send me an email or give me a call 604-660-9204 if you have further questions.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Legal Information vs. Legal Advice: A Quick Guide

As librarians and library staff, we are able to provide legal information to our patrons - not legal advice. This distinction can be a little tricky and sometimes it's not easy to communicate.

Whenever I do training sessions, I always like to reserve a little space to discuss the differences between legal information and legal advice. 

Providing legal information is a wonderful thing - it can help our patrons better understand their legal issues (or if they have a legal issue in the first place!) and empower them to make informed decisions about their next steps. However, there are some things we can't help with: We are not legally trained and cannot offer legal advice.

So what is the difference? 

I've put together a 2 page PDF that describes some of the things we can and can't do and also some tips and ways you can communicate your boundaries.

Click the image below to open the PDF or download it here: "A Quick Guide to Legal Information & Legal Advice for BC Librarians & Library Staff"

Monday, March 12, 2018

Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries (2018): Recorded Webinar Now Available

Weren't able to join us for our collections webinar? A recorded version of this webinar is now available - Check it out!

Webinar Summary:

Join LawMatters Coordinator Shannon McLeod and Courthouse Libraries BC librarian Megan Smiley for this one hour webinar on building your library's legal collection.

Whether you have been handling your library's legal collection for a while or you are new to collecting legal materials, tune in to learn more about:
  • Using the Law Books for Libraries (LBL) list
  • An overview and what you can expect from different legal publishers
  • Tips for selecting legal titles
We presented this webinar on March 8th.

Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries from Courthouse Libraries BC on Vimeo.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Webinar Announcement: Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries

Last year, we hosted our first "Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries" - I'm happy to announce that we will be offering this webinar again this year!

The content will largely be the same as our previous webinar, so if you didn't get a chance to attend (or you want a refresher), sign up for this session!

In this presentation, I will be joined once again by Courthouse Libraries BC librarian Megan Smiley for this one hour webinar on building your library's legal collection.

We will be covering:

  • LawMatters collection guides (like the Law Books for Libraries list)
  • An overview and what you can expect from different legal publishers
  • Tips for selecting legal titles
  • Retention and weeding considerations

We will present this webinar on March 8th at 12:30pm PST- hope you can make it!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Mediate BC Offering Programming for Libraries

Mediate BC offers public sessions on a variety of mediation topics.
This year, they are expanding their programming - If you think your patrons might be interested in mediation topics, consider hosting a session!

If you are interested in hosting a session contact Zoe Stryd @ 

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process for solving conflicts (disputes) without going to court. Two or more parties meet in a private and informal setting to try to settle their dispute with the help of a mediator (a person trained to help people settle conflicts together).


Here are a few write-ups for sample programs Mediate BC can offer: 


When making plans to make sure you, or an older parent, have the care to be comfortable in the future, a lot of difficult conversations can come up. Conversations about money, providing care, addressing concerns, and making arrangements may not be easy. Family members might not agree on the best course of action and often these conversations are emotionally complex.

Join a professional mediator and expert in conflict resolution for a free workshop at your local public library. In this session you will learn tools and strategies for making these conversations easier and more successful. You will also learn what options and resources are available should you need some help in coming to an agreement on how to move forward. 


Every workplace has disagreements and conflict. Handled well, they can be opportunities for improvement and innovation. Handled poorly, these conflicts can harm the company and employees through decreased effectiveness and increased stress, mental health issues, and employee turnover.

Join a conflict resolution expert for a free workshop on effectively managing workplace conflict. This session will provide you with tools to handle disagreements with co-workers, supervisors, and clients more easily. We will also discuss what your options are when conflict has escalated and how to save time, money, and stress by resolving your conflict out of court.


Join a professional mediator for a workshop on effectively managing family conflict. We will discuss how to have better conversations where everyone feels respected and heard. This includes managing conflict with teens and tips for effective co-parenting with your current or former partner. We will also discuss resources and options should you need some extra help finding a resolution.

This session is great for any family that wants to have more tools to resolve problems easily and effectively. It is suitable for separated parents and those who are still together.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Legal Directory Online

Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (CBABC) Launches New BC Legal Directory 

The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing lawyers, judges and law students across Canada. 

After 30 years in print, the publication is now online and freely accessible to the public for the first time.

This title may sound familiar to you - the print directory has long been included in the LawMatters Law Books for Libraries list. I have removed it from the list but I still recommend that you make this a part of your legal reference toolkit!

This is a tool that can be useful for making referrals. If you have a patron who is looking for a lawyer and doesn't know how to find one, you can show them this directory.

The directory is searchable by:

  • name
  • location
  • languages spoken
  • areas of practice 

“We’ve turned the page on the old BC Legal Directory,” said CBABC president Bill Veenstra. “More than simply accessing information, we’ve evolved it to be very easy to use, with richer content now accessible to everyone on any device. The new directory is a go-to resource for BC lawyers and other legal professionals, along with members of the public who need to access the legal community”
- CBABC Launches New BC Legal Directory, Media release, January 24, 2018

Browse the new BC Legal Directory at and click "Find-A-Lawyer" to start your search.

Other Referral Resources:

Clicklaw HelpMap

If your patron is looking for no-cost or low-cost legal help or services, the Clicklaw HelpMap is a good place to start.

BC Family Unbundling Roster for family law issues.

The BC Family Law Unbundling Roster is a list of family lawyers & paralegals who will perform select legal tasks for clients who do not want or cannot afford full-representation. Unbundled legal services means clients pay for some assistance depending on what help they want & what they can afford.