Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Courtenay Branch Library Legal Information Community Forum

Mari Martin, Manager of the Courtenay Branch Public Library, hosted a lively Legal Information Community Forum on October 5th. Representatives from Wachiay Friendship Centre, RCMP Victim Services, Family Justice Services, Comox Military Family Resource Centre, Service BC, Comox Valley Women's Resource Centre, Courtenay Library, Native Courtworkers and Counselling Association of BC, and Salvation Army Pro Bono Service attended.

After each participant described the services their agency offers, the forum discussion included the barriers clients face, such as literacy and privacy issues when accessing legal information from a variety of resources.

The group was keen to see follow-up from the meeting, such as bringing speakers to the library to provide community workshops on topics such as Drinking and Driving Charges, Residential Tenancy and Power of Attorney. Speakers from the People's Law School speaker service, and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre were suggested. Ongoing community interagency meetings were also recommended.

Evaluation responses included appreciations:
  • Useful to see the faces of agencies I frequently make referrals to.
  • Opportunity to network and become more informed.
  • Updates re current services/resources.
  • The informal, round-table atmosphere made it very easy to retain the information!
  • Overview of website Clicklaw.
Suggestions to improve public access to legal resources:
  • More 1- 1 help
  • More coordination of resources
  • Training of retired or disabled professionals to work as volunteer advocates in their preferred field.
We continue to plan more legal information forums: write to jfreeman@courthouselibrary.ca if you would like a forum in your community.

Thanks to Courtenay Library Customer Services Librarian Jason Kuffler for the photos below!

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