Monday, November 26, 2007

Elan: Electronic Legal Aid Newsletter for Community Workers

Legal Services Society of BC issues a bi-monthly subscription newsletter called Elan [look for it in the right hand column of their home page ]. The current issue lists articles on the following topics:
  • Threatening "demand letters" from Ontario
  • Sponsors expected to pay family members' expenses
  • Report recommends improved legal aid services for Aboriginal people
  • Featured resource: Tenant Resource and Advocacy Centre

Plus a link to an amusing public service announcement.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Legal Information Access Centre in New South Wales

I've been researching the topic of programs that help public libraries enhance their legal information collections, and have not found many ongoing programs in North America. There are several law libraries that provide bibliographies of recommended materials, such as the Minnesota Association of Law Libraries and the Utah State Law Library .

The most comprehensive program I've found is the Legal Information Access Centre in New South Wales (LIAC), which opened in 1990. Interestingly, this program was modelled after the Legal Services Society of BC Legal Resource Centre, which was cut in 2002 due to funding cutbacks. The LIAC site contains many useful ideas we might consider for the LawMatters project, such as the regular publication Hot Topics ; legal issues in plain language, and the coordinated pamphlet racks of legal information.

Monday, November 5, 2007

LawMatters Website Now Up

LawMatters now has a website and a domain: The actual URL will show the address as part of the BCCLS website Special Projects section, but both addresses will take you to the site. We have included the 3 page backgrounder to the project, as well as the Core List of Recommended Materials in Excel format. Suggestions are welcome regarding how to develop the site. Some possibilities are: highlighting of new titles and legislation; recommended weeding lists; sample legal questions and answers; templates for legal reference topic guides and training workshops.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Public Library Toolkit (US)

We are looking at different ways to assist public librarians, such as providing templates for research guides on current law, and toolkits similar to this Public Library Toolkit from the American Association of Law Libraries, and this Mini Research Guide from the Council of California County Law Librarians. Comments welcome!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hello to LawMatters Pilot Project Librarians

This is my first attempt at blogging, and I'm interested to see how this can work to communicate with each other. This is a very basic blog until I figure out how to do all the extras!

Here are some ideas I'd like your feedback about, if possible:

* We have discussed two possibilities of binders of the free PLEI (Public Legal Education and Information) titles: the Supreme Court Self-Help Guides, and the Scow Institute fact sheets.
Another possibility for a PLEI binder is a collection of materials from the Community Legal Assistance Society This would be about 100 pages, double sided.
As well, there is a good publication called Parenting After Separation that can only be ordered by phone. I could order the copies, then include them with the PLEI binders.
I plan to do a final list of PLEI binders so that you can let me know which ones you'd like.

*The Law Society has asked if public libraries would like a complimentary subscription to the Benchers' Bulletin

Coming soon: The BC LawMatters website, QP LegalEze course information and the Legal Reference Online Course training.

Please feel free to comment here on any of the above, or anything else concerning the LawMatters project.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Welcome to the BC LawMatters Blog!

"LawMatters at your local public library" is a project initiated by the BC Courthouse Library Society, and funded by the Law Foundation of BC . For more information about the project, see the September 2007 announcement .

The blog is a discussion forum for anyone interested in the goals of the project, which include providing all British Columbian residents with local access to basic legal information. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Janet Freeman at