Monday, March 4, 2019

Fall 2018 Research Report

At last we are delighted to share the report on our 2018 fall research of rural and remote community libraries. The full report and a summary can both be found on Courthouse Libraries BC's LawMatters page, but a few highlights are listed below to give you a sneak peak. Many thanks to Meg Kwasnicki for all the work she did planning and conducting the research and writing these final reports. 

In related news, you'll recall a promise for interviewees to be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift card. Congratulations to Virginia and all the staff at the Kitimat Public Library - you are the lucky recipients! 

A big thank you to everyone who participated in this research. You provided us with so much valuable information and insight which we have used to start planning for the future. It's an exciting road that lies ahead!

Some key points you'll find in the report: 

1) Public Libraries are coping with a very diverse range of community information priorities. Legal information questions, while infrequent, are still seen as important.

2) A “one-size fits all” granting & program model will not address the unique PLEI needs of small communities. Offering a range of training and support options that can be selected by individual libraries will address this diversity.

3) Libraries are highly connected to other community agencies, but not necessarily around the point of legal information.

4) Legal information needs might be underestimated because the concept of “legal” public
librarians hold is different from PLEI-specialists and legal professionals.

5) Public libraries are being called upon to fill the gap of shuttered government and professional services and are not further resourced by these services to help.

6) Public libraries are not necessarily aware of all the services offered by the range of PLEI
organizations and when they are helpful to access.

Key Recommendations:

To enhance and facilitate public library provision of legal information we recommend increasing funding to LawMatters to allow the program to:

1) Increase LawMatters staff resources to liaise more actively with public libraries.

2) Continue the collection grants adding more options about how to apply the grants to public libraries. Include site visits from CLBC representatives (where possible).

3) Promote online resources and integrate the use of Clicklaw more heavily into the LawMatters activities. Fund activities to mobilize and curate online resources, as these offer a different option and flexibility of use.

4) Develop and provide: Education, Outreach and Knowledge Translation.

5) LawMatters can be a key connector between other PLEI organizations in BC to provide an outreach framework of services to public libraries.

Thanks again and stay tuned for more news about upcoming program enhancements and activities!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Legal Help for 60's Scoop Survivors

Atira in partnership with the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic, the Amici Curiae Friendship Society, and Carnegie Community Centre (with funding support from the Law Foundation of BC), will be offering assistance to 60’s Scoop Survivors to file for the 60’s Scoop Survivors Class Action.
Please note the class action ends August 30, 2019 and they hope to assist as many eligible 60’s Scoop Survivors as they possibly can before then. Atira can assist women to apply and the other organizations listed can help other 60’s Scoop survivors as well.
Contact information for assistance is provided in the attached poster (PDF). Please disseminate/share widely.
Please note that these services are being offered in-person in Vancouver. 
For those of you outside the lower mainland, you can direct any patrons asking for assistance with completing the forms to contact Collectiva at 1-844-287-4270 or by email at They are able to provide support over the phone. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Essay Contest for Grade 12 Students

Do you know any BC high school students who like to write and are interested in law? Pass the word about this contest!

The Law Society of BC is inviting BC secondary school students to participate in an essay contest about the Rule of Law.
The Rule of Law Essay Contest
Submission deadline is April 5, 2019
All grade 12 students in BC and any BC secondary student who is currently enrolled in, or has taken, either law 12 or civic studies 11.
How would you explain the concept of the rule of law to a new classmate who recently arrived in Canada? Please provide examples of its application to our daily lives, which may include a discussion of any current challenges or threats to the rule of law.
The winner and runner-up will receive cash prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively, at an awards presentation at the Law Society in Vancouver.
For contest details, including submission guidelines and a downloadable flyer, go to the contest page at the Law Society of BC website.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Upcoming Webinars with Courthouse Libraries BC

Hello everyone,

We’d like to extend an invitation for you to sign up for the following webinars for front-line workers, public librarians and advocates. Despite the short notice, I hope some of you can make it!

Human Rights 201 for Front Line Workers and Advocates (October 24, 12:00-1:30pm)
  • This 1.5-hour webinar is an introductory level course on human rights law in BC and a follow up to the Human Rights 101 course offered earlier this year.  This course will expand on the topics covered in Human Rights 101 and delve deeper into the topic of the duty to accommodate in human rights law. To access a recording of Human Rights 101 please visit our webinar archive.
  • Our presenter, Laura Track is a lawyer and the Director of Education for the Human Rights Clinic at the Community Legal Assistance Society.
Civil Resolution Tribunal: New Areas of Jurisdiction (October 30, 12:30-1:30pm)
  • This 1-hour webinar will highlight some of the areas of jurisdiction that will come under the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) starting next year, including some motor vehicle personal injury disputes, and provide you with an inside look at the CRT and Solution Explorer. Our presenter Shannon Salter is the Chair of the CRT.
  • This webinar is suitable for advocates and front-line workers who may be assisting clients in navigating the CRT or the Solution Explorer.

Click the button below to learn more and register for this and other Courthouse Libraries BC webinars:

Our webinars are free and are delivered online.

Please contact us at 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Exciting News for LawMatters, and a Million Thanks!

Hello Everyone,

I hope this busy fall season has gotten off to a good start for you, and that despite this year’s awful fire season, you all had a great summer.

I'm home after nearly 2 months away in Australia, and have come back to some big changes for the program that I'm really excited to share...

The first bit of news? LawMatters has a new home base!

We wanted to try something different and see how decentralizing the program might extend our reach and help connect with libraries in more rural and remote areas of the province. Lucky for me, this idea came as I was planning a move to just such a place. This confluence of events has resulted in LawMatters HQ being situated in the beautiful mountain town of Golden BC. I am so happy to be here and have the opportunity to make new connections, strengthen existing ones, and imagine new ways to develop our outreach strategies. And of course, to explore! This photo was taken a short drive away at Wapta Falls.

Decentralizing the program also gives us a chance to involve more Courthouse Libraries BC staff, making the most of our resources and collective expertise. Even though I am working at CLBC’s furthest outpost, I remain connected to colleagues throughout the province in all 28 locations. While still the main point of contact for the program, I expect you will soon be meeting more of my colleagues as we ramp up our training and outreach efforts. 

By way of example, some of you will have recently met Megan Vis-Dunbar. One of CLBC’s Liaison Lawyers, she spent much of the summer on the road visiting public libraries and giving training sessions to library staff in far-ranging communities: Alert Bay, Fort St. John, Tumbler Ridge, Kelowna, Dawson Creek, Mackenzie, and Chetwynd to name just a few. We have been delighted to hear all the positive feedback from these visits - thank you Megan!

LawMatters is committed to supporting our library partners wherever they are, and we are so excited to grow the program in a way that helps us reach this goal. This brings me to the second bit of news: the research survey.

We know that public libraries are critical in connecting the public with the legal information they need, and in the 2016 survey we learned that libraries serving rural and remote communities occupy unique service roles. This summer, we began a research project focused specifically on the needs of those libraries to better understand how we can best support them. We reached out to you for your feedback, and have seen a truly tremendous response. We thank you all so much for your continued engagement with the program and the generosity you have shown us with your time, thoughts and valuable insights. 

We aim to use what you have told us to design the LawMatters program in a way that is flexible, creative and responsive. We want to be sure that libraries and communities in all geographic contexts have access to the information and support they need. I hope to be able to share the results of this research with you soon, and start working on your recommendations just as quickly. Stay tuned for more info!

Thanks again to all of you, and looking forward to meeting in person - one day soon hopefully.

All the best,

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Starter Legal Display Kit Returns!

LawMatters is pleased to partner once again with Legal Services Society (LSS) to bring you this updated kit.

We want to help you get started with a legal display of 'freebies' for your patrons.

The purpose of this kit is to promote handouts in legal displays for public libraries. Legal handouts can offer another access point for patrons: access to print information they can take away for themselves.

No matter your library size or budget (did I mention these are all free?) give a legal display a try! The order form includes titles, subjects, and dimensions - plus they are grouped together into a Basic Kit and Subject specific add-ons, making it easy to order!

Basic Kit includes freebies on:
General Legal Aid
Aboriginal Law
Family Law
Family Violence
Benefits & Welfare

Specialized add-ons include:
Aboriginal Law
Abuse & Family Violence
Family Law
Resources in Materials other than English

You can click the image below, download the order form here,  or find it under "Materials for Public Librarians" on the LawMatters website.

Fill out your library’s information and send your form to me at

Please note that this is for public libraries only. We hope this will be a great start or addition to your legal display.

Currently this kit includes LSS publications. You can add other publications (from People’s Law School, for example) to your Starter Display or re-stock titles from Crown Publications.

LawMatters and LSS welcome your feedback as it helps us shape future resources and services. Please let us know your thoughts and experiences!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Webinar Announcement: Legal Aid Services for Indigenous People - Information for Public Libraries

This webinar is aimed primarily at frontline staff working in public libraries throughout BC. Our goal is to help you be better able to support Indigenous patrons facing legal issues by knowing about the services and resources available in your communities.

Our presenter, Rhaea Bailey, is the Legal Services Society Manager of Indigenous Services. She will provide an overview of the organization, the work they do, and where to access their services.

Rhaea is a M├ętis lawyer who was called to the BC Bar in 2010. Before joining Legal Services Society as the Manager of Indigenous Services in March of 2017, she practiced Aboriginal, family and child protection law.

We will be presenting this webinar on May 3rd from 12:00 - 1:00 PST. We hope you'll join us!