Thursday, January 28, 2010

LawMatters Training Follow-Up Survey Report

The LawMatters Training Follow-Up Survey Final Report (PDF, 32 pp, December 2009) was recently published on the LawMatters website. The report summarizes the findings of a survey of 70 public library staff who attended the LawMatters Legal Reference Introductory Training in 2008-2009. Two interesting findings:

* Public librarians answer a lot of legal questions: half of those surveyed get at least one legal question per week.

* The LawMatters training significantly raised the confidence of public librarians to handle legal questions, and that confidence increase didn't fade, even 1-2 years after the training was provided:

Medium or High Confidence Level of Public Librarians:
Before training: 42%
Immediately after training: 83%
1-2 years after training: 89% [adapted from p.17]

Librarians also reported on trends in legal reference topics:

"... funding cuts had limited information sources for citizens, potentially leading to more use of free library services. Two librarians noted that unrepresented litigants are bringing more legal reference questions to the library.

Five library staff said that legal documents or court forms are often difficult for patrons to understand, copy or print out. Many questions also require reference to case law and historical reference materials.

Three librarians noted that answers to simple legal reference questions can now be answered on the internet, meaning that librarians are now asked more complex questions. "

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Legal Information Online Update

New on the Clicklaw website:

* 5 Ways to Protect Yourself When Renting (Video) Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, 2009. The video is available in Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Farsi (Persian), Spanish and Vietnamese.

* If You Are Charged with a Crime (Brochure) Legal Services Society, November 2009. Also available in French.

* You Owe Money and Someone Owes You Money (Videos) People's Law School, January 2010. Animations of a character experiencing debt collection problems. The videos are accompanied by fact sheets You Owe Money and Someone Owes You Money.

Other new titles:

* Immigration Law for Temporary Foreign Workers in English and Immigration Law for Temporary Foreign Workers in Spanish [Powerpoint presentations 35 pp ] are available from the IM-POWER-ED website, which is a community-based legal education and facilitation project for temporary foreign workers.

* Justice for All? [video 8:49 min] from Access to describes the legal aid cutbacks in BC.

* Protesters’ Guide to the Law of Civil Disobedience in British Columbia – Olympic Edition by Vancouver lawyer Leo McGrady, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada . [45 pp PDF] November 2009

* West Coast Environmental Law has a new site which contains links to their publications, newsletter, blog and media releases.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Video: Clicklaw HelpMap Top 5 List

New from the Clicklaw team on the Clicklaw Blog this week:

A 5 minute video posted on YouTube has been created to give a flavour for what the new Clicklaw HelpMap offers. The top 5 things you can do on the HelpMap are:

* You can search by community in British Columbia for someone who can help with legal problems.
* You can locate a result on the map (where we’re integrating with Google Maps).
* You can narrow your results down in a few different ways — by topic (e.g., show me only “Family law” services) or by type of help (e.g., show me only services that provide “legal advocacy, advice or representation”).
* You can start your search by clicking on a topic and narrow down from there.
* You can find services that are provided in languages other than English (by starting with a community in BC and narrowing down by language).

The team would like to hear your feedback on the Clicklaw HelpMap. Please consider taking our 3-minute Clicklaw feedback survey online, posting a comment on the Clicklaw blog, or contacting the editors at

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two New Titles From the LawMatters Project

We are pleased to present the following titles produced for BC public libraries, but available to anyone to download:

Legal Help for British Columbians: A Guide to Help Non-legal Professionals Make Legal Referrals for Clients by Cliff Thorstenson of the Nicola Valley Advocacy Centre. [60 pp PDF] 2009. The Guide updates the 2008 Legal Help for Rural British Columbians legal guide, and print copies will be distributed to all BC public and courthouse libraries in January.