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!