Thursday, May 19, 2016

LawMatters Presents at the 2016 BC Library Conference

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the BC Library Conference (my first time!). The sessions I was able to attend gave me a lot of food for thought and I appreciated the insights and personal experiences that the presenters shared.I really enjoyed learning about how the library community is disrupting and transforming how we work, connect, and create. Meeting so many librarians from all across BC was a real highlight for me. Many of you I have spoken to through email before, but it was so nice to connect with you in person!

I partnered with Kate Sloan from the New Westminster Public Library to present on legal reference tools (thank all of you who were able to attend!). Kate and I met while both working as Client Services Librarians at Courthouse Libraries BC. We provided front-line reference to members of the legal community as well as members of the public. We learned a lot about helpful tools for patrons and were so pleased to be able to share what we learned with you.

We presented “Stocking Your Legal Reference Toolkit: Having the Legal Tools to Empower Your Patrons.” Here is a little bit about the session:

There has been a growing trend in the number of people representing themselves in court and doing their own legal research. Navigating the legal system can be frustrating for people. There is increasingly more information available, but in many different formats and through many different organizations.

There is a lot of information out there; where do you start?

Librarians can help navigate information overload and legal jargon by helping our patrons get started in a good direction using our skills and knowledge to transform their experiences with legal information.

In the spirit of this, Courthouse Libraries BC has produced the wikibook, Beginner’s Guide to Finding Legal Information specifically as a guide to beginning legal research.

If you missed our presentation or would like to take a look at what we covered, the PowerPoint Presentation and resource handout are now available on the LawMatters website!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Quick Tips for Ordering Legal Materials: Looseleafs & Release Collections

Looseleafs and Release Collections

Some legal titles are looseleaf publications and require a subscription. These titles are also known as ‘supplemented’ titles. There is a cost for each update/supplement and they need to be filed regularly to keep the title current.

Publishers on LBL that may have supplemented titles include Carswell and Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (CLE).

In the LBL list, these titles have the following note in the notes field:

Please note that this is a looseleaf subscription: updates cost extra and must be filed to keep the title current. Please contact the publisher for pricing models.

Generally, there will be information on the publishers' website either in the title information page or in your shopping cart that will indicate that the title is a subscription title.

For example, in Carswell's title information, the anticipated cost per supplement and estimated number of supplements (per year) are listed:

If you decide to order a looseleaf title keep this in mind. There are other pricing models such as Carswell’s Release Collection option (see information under “Subscriptions & Standing Orders”). Carswell does not have an option to ‘opt-out’ of looseleaf subscriptions as they do with Standing Orders, so you may need to contact them directly.

CLE, on the other hand, has the same opt-out option as they do with ordering their other subscription titles.

For more information on how Courthouse Libraries has chosen to approach these types of titles see the blog post: Courthouse Libraries Looseleafs To Receive Annual Physicals

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Quick Tips for Ordering Legal Materials: Standing Orders

Standing Orders & Subscriptions

When browsing through titles on a publisher's website, you may notice that some say “Annual volumes supplied on standing order subscription” or “Annual Standing Order Terms Apply.” These will often appear on titles that are updated annually such as annotated acts.

If you decide to order a book that has the 'standing order' note, it will automatically be put on standing order unless you specify otherwise. If you do not want to automatically purchase the title on an annual basis, take note of any options to ‘opt out.’

For example, if ordering from the publisher Carswell (includes Canada Law Book), when you finalize your order, you will have an option to de-select the “Standing Order.”

Continuing Legal Education BC (CLE), which produces many regularly updated titles, also has the option to opt out of updates when checking out:

There are a few other titles on the LBL list by other publishers such as LexisNexis, which may also have automatic standing orders applied to titles. If you have any questions about this please contact me at

Monday, May 2, 2016

Quick Tips for Ordering Legal Materials: Crown Publications

Today's post will be the start of a mini-series of posts focusing on the process of purchasing legal materials. I hope that this information will come in handy as you look through the Law Books for Libraries (LBL) list and begin ordering for your collections!

Ordering Free Legal Materials Through Crown Publications

There are many free titles in the LBL list and most of these will be available to order from Crown Publications (links are also provided in the list). I thought I’d provide a quick walk-through of Crown Publications for those of you who may be new to ordering from this site.

  • Login with your Customer ID* and Postal Code
  • Option 1: Search for a specific title in the Search Box
  • Option 2: To browse, navigate to “Quick Links” 
    • Click on “BC Public Legal Education & Information.” This will allow you to browse by subject (and then search within the subject)
  • Option 3: To browse through an organizations publications, select “Other Organizations” – this will include People’s Law School and Legal Services Society, two of the the main publishers listed in LBL
    • Click on the organization to browse and search all of their publications
  • When you find the title you want, click on it to open it more information
  • This page will give you a summary and the option to add multiple copies to your Basket**
  • Some items will show up only as a link: they have a folder icon next to them – these are currently only available online
  • Go to your Basket to check out!

*If you're not sure what your Customer ID is, but have received free titles previously, contact me at
**Legal Services Society Publications must be ordered in quantities of either 1 or 25

Friday, April 22, 2016

How to Host a Legal Topics Webinar for your Patrons: Part 2

How do these legal topics webinars actually work in practice?

To answer this question, here in part 2 of  How to Host a Legal Topics Webinar for your Patrons, Virginia Charron of the Kitimat Public Library shares her library's experiences hosting webinars and answers some of the questions from our last post!

Thanks for sharing!

How many webinars have you hosted?

The Kitimat Public Library has run three successful webinar events presented by Nidus Personal Planning and Resources Centre (Nidus provides information and education on representation agreements, advance directives and more).

How were the webinars received?

We enjoyed good attendance numbers because we advertised extensively and also because the topic was highly relevant to our community. All of the events were well received by senior audience members and we have plans to continue to hold these information sessions annually if possible.I was told by the attendees that they truly appreciated the opportunity to learn in such a friendly and easy way and without cost.

How did you promote the webinar?

We got the word out via Facebook, our Website, in the newspaper, and by distributing flyers around town.

What equipment would I need?

All you need is one laptop connected to wifi, a projector/TV and speakers, mouse and keyboard (wireless preferred because this makes it easier to sit with attendees and type their questions when required).

What did you do to prepare? 

The only prep required was to photocopy handouts (optional), to set up the room with enough chairs, to set up the computer equipment (actually ours are always ready for webinars) and to bring in some snacks.

How many staff members would I need to dedicate to this?

It is easy to coordinate and to lead.  It only requires one person to set up the room which is a snap.That person can stay for the workshop but can leave the group if required. However, it is a good idea for someone to remain in the room in case there is a question to be asked of the webinar facilitator.

If you have any more questions about webinars or have hosted a webinar at your public library and would like to share your experience, please let me know! Contact Shannon McLeod LawMatters Program Coordinator at

Monday, April 18, 2016

How to Host a Legal Topics Webinar for your Patrons: Part 1

Looking for programming on legal topics for your patrons?

Wills and estates, personal planning, and family law are just a few areas of law that members of your community may be interested in learning more about. However, it’s not always easy to find a presenter to host a session at you library. This is where hosting a webinar can be a great alternative.

Hosting a webinar may seem a little daunting at first so I wanted to create a small introduction on how to approach legal topics webinars in this 2-part blog post.

The LawMatters Program is committed to working with you to get legal information to your patrons and this year we will be exploring ways to connect you with webinar hosting opportunities!

Many of you may already be familiar with this format as LawMatters has, and will continue to, host webinars specifically for librarians to provide overviews and introductions to legal topics, new resources, and legal reference services.

Webinar presentations are hosted on the web, and can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection. Presentations can also be interactive as they are presented live and participants can often provide feedback and questions. 

Bringing patrons together to view and participate in a webinar is a great way to build connections in your community and to highlight your library’s legal information collection and reference know-how! 

I'm sure you have  a few questions about hosting a webinar:

  • What equipment do I need?
  • How many staff members will I need to dedicate to this?
  • What do I need to prepare? 
  • How do I promote the webinar?

In part 2, Virginia Charron, Library Director of Kitimat Public Library will answer these questions and share her experiences hosting three successful webinars for Kitimat Library's patrons.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Law Week + Make a Will Week 2016

Law Week is an annual national event celebrating the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Law Week events are held in communities throughout British Columbia in April and there are quite a few events happening in BC’s public libraries!

Burnaby Public Library, Vancouver Island Regional Libraries, and Cranbrook Public Library, to name a few, will be hosting seminars for their patrons during Law Week.

Law Week also corresponds with Make-a-Will Week this year so many of the seminars will be covering wills topics!

The purpose of Make-a-Will week is to encourage the people of BC to write their wills, or bring existing wills up to date.


Wills and Personal Planning Resource page
  • Click on Public Librarians and Community Helpers to see what resources you can use to help get your patrons started in a good direction
  • Print out For the Public and use as handouts
  • The PDF guides online are linked to all of the resources listed 
Clicklaw Wikibooks

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry

See Map below for seminars hosted by BC Public Libraries 

Topics of the sessions are colour coordinated for quick map browsing:

Looking for More?

  • See a full list of Public Legal Information Events here 
  • Patrons have further legal questions? 
    • Dial-A-Lawyer Day April 16 10am-2pm: 
      • BC residents are invited to call in for a free 15-minute legal consultation in six areas of law.
  • MyLawBC 
    • Can help you make a simple will that reflects your wishes and fits your situation. As you work with the site it will explain the decisions you’ll need to make when writing a will and at the end of the process will provide you with a simple form to fill out to create your will. 
  • See Clicklaw Blog for more information about Law Week and Make-a-Will Week.