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!

Monday, March 26, 2018

New Collection Guide: Getting Started

Last year I created the first version of LawMatter's "Getting Started with your Legal Collection" Guide. This year I have completely updated this guide and made it into a PDF with links to all titles and resources listed.

About the Guide:

The Law Books for Libraries list is the main collection guide tool for legal materials but, with over 200 titles in all areas of law,  it can be a little overwhelming.

I've created this guide with the following collecting question in mind:
"If I had to buy just 1 or 2 books in this subject what should I get?"

This guide is intended to help get you started building your legal information collection. It is organized by subject and within each subject, there are titles recommended for different collection

  • All Library Collections – A foundation in this subject area for all library collections.
  • Small Collections
  • Medium Collections
  • Large Collections

Another unique aspect to this guide is, unlike the Law Books for Libraries list, I have also tried to include (and link) electronic resources and websites (especially in subject areas where there are fewer print resources available).

I hope you will find this guide to be a great place to get started!

Access the guide here, click below, or check out "Materials for Public Librarians" on the LawMatters website.

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.