Friday, January 12, 2018

2018 Training Opportunities

Did you know?

LawMatters provides professional development for library staff - We train on finding and using legal information resources to help you answer legal questions on the reference desk. Plus, training can be customized to suit your library's interests or information needs!

If your library is interested in learning more about legal information and resources (and how to use them!) please email me at OR fill out the Google Form embedded below:

If you have any questions, please send me an email.

In-person training for library staff is FREE - this includes travel!
Check out where we've been recently:

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy 2018 Everyone!

This year, LawMatters will continue to offer collection development guidance, grants, and professional development!

If you are new to the LawMatters program here is a quick overview:

LawMatters believes libraries are the key to informed and connected communities. We work with public libraries to ensure that legal information is accessible for those who need it in every community in BC.

How we help:

Expert collection guidance -

Not sure how to build your legal collection? We provide the subject expertise!

Grants to help you build your legal collection and keep it updated.

Professional development for library staff -
Learn how to find and use legal information and answer legal questions on the reference desk.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

LawMatters Year in Review: Part 2

Here is Part 2 of my overview of LawMatters activities in 2017!

In my previous post, I covered the cornerstones of the LawMatters program - the activities we do every year - including training/professional development, collection guidance, and grant distribution. In this post, I'll be covering some of the 'extra' things we did this year ...

Legal Information at Your Library – FREE BOOKS

Clicklaw Wikibooks

2017 was a big year for Clicklaw Wikibooks!

This year we printed three Wikibook titles: Law Students Legal Advice Manual (LSLAP), Legal Help for British Columbians, and JP Boyd on Family Law – FREE for public libraries in BC.


Boxes of Clicklaw Wikibooks ready to ship!
One of the goals of this print initiative is to help libraries have an established core collection of legal information.

The other goal is to provide a format (print & online) that can make legal information accessible in every community.

This is why LawMatters and Clicklaw Wikibooks continue to work on developing accessible legal information that you can provide at your library!

LawMatters coordinated the mail-out of these 3 titles to 72 public libraries systems in BC:

239 copies of LSLAP
241 copies of Legal Help for British Columbians
241 copies of JP Boyd on Family Law

Wills and Estates Collection

LawMatters teamed up with People's Law School to distribute the limited edition print copy of their Wills and Estates Collection. Each library in BC received at least 1 copy. 

Wills-and-Estates-Collection-full-cover-image.jpgThis collection brought together four popular titles from People's Law School that deal with ageing and death:

Each of these titles is available as a Clicklaw Wikibook separately and, if you want to read them all at once, the Collection is also available as a Clicklaw Wikibook!

New Publications Package - LSS New and Revised Titles

Remember the Starter Legal Display Kit? LawMatters and the Legal Services Society worked together once again to offer a New Publications Package that included 9 new or revised titles and 2 multilingual publication add-ons. 

The kit was intended to introduce libraries to free legal information and to help make it easier to get started with legal 'freebies.' 

Free legal information pamphlets and booklets produced by Legal Services Society AND by People's Law School are all free to order from Crown Publications.


Last year, Courthouse Libraries BC embarked on an evaluation to assess the LawMatters program. We were pleased to share a summary of the results this year with an infographic and full evaluation report.

Click here to view evaluation infographic

Thank you everyone for your support and participation in the LawMatters program!
Looking forward to working with you in 2018!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

LawMatters Year in Review: Part 1

As we approach the end of another year, I wanted to write a 2-part post to reflect on the LawMatters program in 2017.

It's been another busy year, and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Here's an overview of some of our activities:

Grants & Collections

Grants are distributed annually to help purchase legal information and reference materials.

This year, LawMatters distributed grants to 57 library systems in British Columbia!
The Law Books for Libraries (LBL) list was updated and, since the LBL List can be a little overwhelming, we created 2 new guides to help get you started:

“Getting Started” with your Legal Collections – A collection guide for librarians new to legal material and./or the LawMatters Program

“How to turn $125 into a Legal Collection” – A guide for small libraries (recipients of small grants) on purchasing legal materials

Training & Outreach

LawMatters offers professional development for public librarians to improve their confidence helping the public with legal information questions.

Beyond Hope Conference - Prince George

LawMatters teamed up with Legal Services Society to present a session at the Beyond Hope Conference on Family Resources Online. We went over great resources you can add to your legal reference toolkit including Clicklaw, Family Law in British Columbia, and MyLawBC.

BC Library Conference 2017 – Vendor Display

This year, LawMatters set up a vendor table at the BC Library Conference in Vancouver. Thanks to those of you who were able to pop by! It's always nice to see familiar faces (and some new faces too!) from around the province. Of course, you don't have to wait for a conference if you want to chat about legal info - send me an email anytime!

Introduction to Legal Reference and Resources – Presentations

We gave introductory presentations/workshops on legal reference and resources for libraries in the following communities:


“Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries” Webinar

We presented this webinar in March to correspond with the release of the 2017 Law Books for Libraries List. In this webinar, we discussed different legal publishers, subscription models, and weeding tips! You can still check it out - the recording of our webinar is available here!

“Introduction to Legal Information & Help Online” Webinar

Back for its second year, we presented our Introduction to Legal Information & Help Online aka our Clicklaw Refresher webinar in June. Need a quick refresher? The recording is available here!

This year, library staff we trained reported an 88% increase in confidence using legal information and answering legal information questions.

Part 2 coming soon!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

LawMatters at Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Conference

Guest Written
By Janet Freeman

I was fortunate to be able to present at two events of the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week.                         
 On October 19, I gave a talk at a public library on "How can your library help you access legal information?", which was part of the library's Free Legal Resource Fair.  Last spring the provincial government passed a budget that reduced public library budgets by 58%, which led to many public protests and the funding restored, but perhaps still in peril. Access to Justice organizers felt that the BC LawMatters experience pointed to one example of the real value of public libraries: getting legal information to laypeople.

 I then attended the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Conference on The Role of Legal Information Providers and Public Libraries in Promoting Access to Justice, and gave a keynote talk on the history of the LawMatters program and how we selected titles for the recommended purchase lists for public libraries. The audience consisted of law librarians, public legal education lawyers, and public librarians. I was impressed that the Deputy Attorney General attended the whole conference (he received a round of applause). We had some great brainstorming sessions about how to collaborate on future training and resources, and I learned about the fun of getting to work on a snowmobile, or being a Library Director of 55 library branches.

Thank you, Janet, for representing LawMatters and the importance of public libraries in access to justice!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wikibook Announcement: New JP Boyd on Family Law

The newest edition of the print JP Boyd on Family Law has just arrived here at Courthouse Libraries!

Written in plain language, with definitions for key legal terms, JP Boyd on Family Law provides practical, in-depth explanation of family law and divorce law in British Columbia.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year LawMatters planned to distribute 3 Clicklaw Wikibooks titles to BC public libraries for free! We distributed Legal Help Guide for British Columbians and the Law Students' Legal Advice Manual in August.

We are now preparing our mailout of this title - your library should be receiving copies soon!

Just as a reminder: 
All public library systems in BC will be receiving copies - your library does not have to be participating in the LawMatters grants program to receive this publication.

Copies will be distributed with library size in mind. Smaller libraries or libraries with one location will receive 1 copy and larger libraries will receive 1 copy for each branch location.


If you have any questions about this, please email me at

Friday, September 15, 2017

LawMatters Evaluation: Results

Last year, Courthouse Libraries BC embarked on an evaluation to assess the LawMatters program. We are pleased to share a summary of the results through this infographic:

These documents are also available on the LawMatters Website.