Thursday, November 9, 2017

LawMatters at Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Conference

Guest Written
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!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wikibook Announcement: New JP Boyd on Family Law

The newest edition of the print JP Boyd on Family Law has just arrived here at Courthouse Libraries!

Written in plain language, with definitions for key legal terms, JP Boyd on Family Law provides practical, in-depth explanation of family law and divorce law in British Columbia.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year LawMatters planned to distribute 3 Clicklaw Wikibooks titles to BC public libraries for free! We distributed Legal Help Guide for British Columbians and the Law Students' Legal Advice Manual in August.

We are now preparing our mailout of this title - your library should be receiving copies soon!

Just as a reminder: 
All public library systems in BC will be receiving copies - your library does not have to be participating in the LawMatters grants program to receive this publication.

Copies will be distributed with library size in mind. Smaller libraries or libraries with one location will receive 1 copy and larger libraries will receive 1 copy for each branch location.


If you have any questions about this, please email me at

Friday, September 15, 2017

LawMatters Evaluation: Results

Last year, Courthouse Libraries BC embarked on an evaluation to assess the LawMatters program. We are pleased to share a summary of the results through this infographic:

These documents are also available on the LawMatters Website.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Coming Soon! New Clicklaw Wikibooks for your Library!

We will begin our mail out of Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) Manual and the Legal Help Guide for British Columbians next week!

This year, LawMatters is pleased to announce that we will be providing print versions of the following Clicklaw Wikibooks to public libraries:

Legal Help Guide for British Columbians (Updated)

For over 40 common legal problems, the Guide provides first steps to address the problem and options for further information or help - all written in plain language!

Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) Manual (New)

The Law Students' Legal Advice Program's (LSLAP) Manual provides quick answers to many legal issues. Originally designed as an educational resource for LSLAP students, it is now used by hundreds of organizations across BC. Clicklaw Wikibooks and LSLAP have joined efforts to bring the Manual to the Clicklaw Wikibooks format.

JP Boyd on Family Law (Updated)

Written in plain language, with definitions for key legal terms, JP Boyd on Family Law provides practical, in-depth explanation of family law and divorce law in British Columbia.


What are Clicklaw Wikibooks?

In a nut-shell, Clicklaw Wikibooks are online, collaboratively published, plain language resources covering a range of legal information topics.

Why provide print copies?

One of the goals of the print initiative is to help libraries have an established core collection of legal information. The other goal is to provide a format (print & online) that can make legal information accessible in every community.

Who gets a print copy?

All public library systems in BC will be receiving copies of our new publications – copies will be distributed with library size in mind. For example, smaller libraries or libraries with one location will receive 1 copy (of each wikibook).

Your library does not have to be participating in the LawMatters grants program to receive these publications.

If you have questions about this, please email me at 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Weeding Tips Part 2: A Tour of Legislation

Your may have legislation in your collection – what do you do with it?

Just for clarification here are some images of legislative volumes – your library may have one or all of these.

1996 Revised Statutes of British Columbia – aka“the grey binders.”

The main benefit of these binders is that one can see, in print, a fairly up-to-date version of British Columbian laws. The ‘1996’ refers to the last time the laws were consolidated; subscription filings are what make them current.*

Fortunately, this information is all freely available now on The online versions will be the most current. These binders are updated by subscription so if you are thinking of weeding these binders, make sure your subscription is not still active.

Statutes of British Columbia - BC Legislative Volumes (bound)

These are the official published BC Laws. These can be a little tricky to navigate as they don’t contain BC Laws consolidated (all in one place). Legislative volumes contain new legislation, amendments, and tables of legislative changes.

Statutes of Canada (bound)

These are the printed laws of Canada (Federal legislation) – Please note that these are also available online - the online version and the print are BOTH considered official.

* Please note that the online version of BC laws and the content in the binders are not considered the ‘official’ versions; the official laws are bound in statute volumes. Conversely, Federal Laws online at are considered official.


Having legislation available in print can be an important access point for your patrons researching the law. There are a few things to consider when evaluating this portion of your legal collection:

  • Space – do you have room for these volumes?
  • Format – is print access to laws important for your community? BC Laws are all available online now – will this be accessible?
  • Time – are you filing updates to your legislation?

If you are receiving bound (federal) legislative volumes, before weeding your legislation, it might be good to check if your library is actually designated as a depository for those materials: You may have to refer to the Depository Services Program of Canada and contact them to see what requirements are needed for your library.


If you can access laws and provide print from the online resource BCLaws, you do not have the space or time to maintain legislative subscriptions (like the grey binders), and you are NOT a depository – you can weed your legislation as needed for your library.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Weeding Tips Part 1: General Guidelines for Legal Collections

General Guidelines for Legal Collections

Jurisdiction and currency are important factors in retention and weeding. The jurisdiction should be Canada and/or British Columbia. The currency can get a little tricky:

In general a title may be considered current if published within the last 5 years BUT there are some important exceptions:

If the laws have changed, materials should be updated to reflect the most recent changes.

As a general rule, in the following areas of law, items should be discarded and replaced if they are published before the following dates:
  • Criminal Law – Most current possible (within 2-3 years max)
    • The Criminal Code is amended every year
  • Family Law – March 2013
    • New Family Law Act repealed and replaced the old Family Relations Act, effective March 2013.
  • Immigration – Most current possible (within 2-3 years max)
    • The Immigration and Refugee Protection has had massive changes in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015; there are changes made fairly regularly.
  • Insurance Act – July 2012
    • The Insurance Act was revised in 2012 consolidating the previously existing act and its amendments.
  • Local Government Act – January 2016
    • This act governs municipalities –if your library collects municipal legal information, update to reflect the latest updates.
  • Societies Act – November 2016
    • A new Societies Act will replace the existing Society Act effective November 2016. This act governs how societies (not-for-profit corporations) are created and run in BC.
  • Wills, Estates, and Personal Planning – March 2014
    • Effective March 2014, the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act (WESA) repealed and replaced:
      • Estate Administration Act
      • Probate Recognition Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 376 
      • Wills Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 489 
      • Wills Variation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 490 
      • And parts of…
        • Law and Equity Act
        • Survivorship and Presumption of Death Act

This information can be found in the full Retention and Weeding Guidelines (Word).
See also the Retention and Weeding List (Excel)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Law Books for Libraries - LBL 2017 August Update

The August update for the Law Books for Librarians (LBL) list is now available!

The List has already been updated twice this year - once in March and once in May. The August update includes titles that are new or have been updated since March 2017. I have indicated in the notes when each title was added.

New titles are recently published items, titles that haven't been on the list before, and a couple of returning titles (new editions).

I have made an abbreviated update which includes ONLY the new and updated items and I am also uploading the full LBL with the August updates included.

Friday, July 21, 2017

B.C. Provincial Court News & Resources

Going to court can be an intimidating experience, especially for people presenting their case without a lawyer.

Guidelines for Using a Support Person in Provincial Court

Many self-represented litigants find that having a trusted friend or family member with them to provide emotional support, take notes, and organize documents can be a big help. In recognition of this, the Provincial Court of B.C. has adopted Guidelines for self-represented litigants to use a support person during a trial:

More Information

Clicklaw has a few great starting points for people seeking information about going to B.C. Provincial Court.

The resources listed are also available in PDF format so you can print them out!

Big Changes to Small Claims
On June 1, 2017, the limit for small claims increased to $35,000. The Civil Resolution Tribunal also began accepting small claims disputes up to $5,000. More information here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Clicklaw Refresher: Introduction to Legal Information & Help Online

Last week we presented an interactive webinar on using Clicklaw. Thank you everyone who tuned in and participated!

We covered the basics of using the site and went through some practice questions together using polls and live demonstrations.

If you were unable to attend or you want to revisit the presentation, we have made a recording available!

Check it out:

Clicklaw Refresher for Libraries and Community Helpers-Webinar Recording from Courthouse Libraries BC on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Webinar Reminder: FOI 101

Just a quick FYI about the upcoming FOI Webinar :)
Sign Up Here!

Courthouse Libraries BC will be hosting a webinar by the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association next week!

If you are interested in learning more about Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, be sure to sign up for this 1 hour webinar July 11, 12:30pm-1:30pm.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Last Chance to Order LSS New & Revised Titles Package

Last Chance to Order LSS New & Revised titles Package! We will be retiring this package June 30th so, if you're interested, get your orders in before then!

What you get:

The order form for the new package includes 9 new or revised titles and 2 multilingual publication add-ons.

The kit is intended to get you started with these new publications: you have the option of ordering 5 OR 10 copies each depending on your library's needs.
To Order:
• Fill out the order form
• Send me your order form (to OR fax to 604-660-2821

The form also includes the option to set up a customer account so you can order more (for free)!

Monday, May 29, 2017

New Resources & Clicklaw Common Questions

New Common Questions on Clicklaw 

With the help of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association:

New (Free) Publications:

Explains consumer rights for common purchases and contracts. Now includes a new section on making a contract.

Covers 15 of the most common scams. Now includes new sections on romance scams, charity scams, and expanded coverage of online and computer scams.

A Death in Your Family (updated)
Covers preparing for the death of a loved one, what to do immediately after the death, making the funeral arrangements, and where to find support. 

New Publications Package - LSS New and Revised Titles
9 new or revised titles from Legal Services Society including 
  • Your welfare rights: How to apply for welfare
  • Is That Legal? What the Law Says about Online Harassment and Abuse
  • Income Assistance on Reserve in British Columbia
    ...and more!

Upcoming Webinars:

As of June 1st,  the CRT will begin accepting small claims disputes under $5,000. This webinar provides a walk through of the CRT process and some changes specific to small claims disputes.

Clicklaw Refresher for Libraries & Community Helpers
We will be reviewing how to search Clicklaw for reliable legal information specific to B.C. as well as how to use Clicklaw Wikibooks and the Clicklaw Helpmap to make better referrals. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

New Publications Package - LSS New and Revised Titles

Preview of the Order Form
Remember the Starter Legal Display Kit? LawMatters and the Legal Services Society are teaming up again to offer a New Publications Package!

The order form for the new package includes 9 new or revised titles and 2 multilingual publication add-ons.

The kit is intended to get you started with these new publications: you have the option of ordering 5 OR 10 copies each depending on your library's needs.

To Order:

Fill out the order form
Send me your order form (to

☺️ That's it! ☺️

The form also includes the option to set up a customer account so you can order more (for free)!

Download the Order Form 

Feedback - What do you think?

LSS is looking for feedback on these types of mailout packages and their free publications - if you ordered the Starter Legal Display Kit in 2016 or have thoughts about LSS publications please fill out their survey here:

Thank you for your feedback! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Legal Information Workshop and Community Discussion in Salmon Arm

Last week, Audrey Jun was on the road representing LawMatters and Clicklaw in the Okanagan!

Audrey gave a great presentation on Clicklaw and legal information to library staff at the Salmon Arm branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

The library also hosted a Community Discussion on Legal Information:

Organizations were invited to share information, resources, and ideas on legal information and services in their community. Audrey was joined by Nicky Dunlop from PovNet to facilitate the meeting.

Thank You!

James and the staff at Salmon Arm Library for inviting us to present on Clicklaw and for hosting the community discussion!

All of our participants at the Community Discussion on Legal Information for sharing their experiences, stories, and ideas!

All of this is a part of the services offered by the LawMatters Program. If you are interested in training or hosting a community discussion at your library, send me an email at!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Courthouse Library Tour & BC Library Conference 2017

Tour of Courthouse Libraries BC - Vancouver

Last week I had the pleasure of touring a group of BC Library Conference attendees through the Vancouver location of Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC)!
I was joined by CLBC’s Client Services Librarian Megan Smiley (you may remember her from our webinar in March) and our Clicklaw Coordinator Audrey Jun! We covered our services, staffing, collections, and our outreach and digital initiatives - We really made the most of our time! Everyone had great questions and made the tour a lot of fun.

If you missed the tour but have questions about CLBC and what we do – send me an email!

BC Library Conference

Last year I presented at the Library Conference - this year many of you found me at my exhibitor's table. I had information on Clicklaw, Clicklaw Wikibooks and a new brochure for the LawMatters program.

Thank you everyone who dropped by and said hello; I really appreciated your feedback on the LawMatters program. While we mostly communicate online by email, having the opportunity to meet many of you face-to-face was a treat! I love hearing about your libraries, communities, and, of course, your experiences with legal information!

Speaking of legal information, there was a lot of fantastic PLEI (public legal education & information) represented at the conference this year – I shared my table with online information pathway MyLawBC and wasn’t far from the Legal Services Society's publications table. People's Law School also had their publications on display. If you saw anything that caught your eye, all these publications are free to order on Crown Publications!

I hope to see you all again next year!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Make a Will Week

Make-a-Will Week 2017 is April 9 to 15 and aims to encourage British Columbians to write their will or bring an existing will up-to-date.


  • Wills and Personal Planning Resource page
    • Click on Public Librarians and Community Helpers to see what resources you can use to help get your patrons started in a good direction
    • Print out For the Public and use as handouts
    • The PDF guides online are linked to all of the resources listed
  • Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry
  • MyLawBC 
    • Can help you make a simple will that reflects your wishes and fits your situation. As you work with the site it will explain the decisions you’ll need to make when writing a will and at the end of the process will provide you with a simple form to fill out to create your will. 
  • Access Pro Bono Wills Clinics (Vancouver)
    • Weekly Wills Clinic is held each Wednesday for low-income seniors (ages 55+) and people with terminal illnesses by appointment only.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How to turn $125 into a Legal Collection

New guide with examples!

Check it out here:

How to turn $125 into a Legal Collection (Word doc),

The guide is also available off of the LawMatters website

The smallest LawMatters grant given out is $125 –The purpose of this short guide is to give you examples of how you can build a great introductory legal collection with $125!

The examples  have been selected from the Law Books for Libraries 2017 (LBL) list with small libraries in mind – price, space, and subjects have been considered.

Step 1 is to start with free information!

You can collect quite a lot of information using free materials! Most titles included in the examples in the guide are available digitally or in print!

If space is a concern for your library or you don’t have a place to display pamphlets or booklets you can:
  • Access these online
  • Link them to your catalogue or website (if that is an option for you)
  • Download the PDF versions to access them offline

Step 2 is choosing books you want to spend your grant on!

Other tools for selection:

  • Legal Collections – Getting Started: This document contains some similar information but considers collection sizes from small to large and also recommends items for ‘all library collections.’ Included are electronic resources and a broader range of subject matter.
  • Law Books for Libraries 2017: This is an Excel document that contains ALL recommended titles for public libraries. Titles on this list can be filtered and organized by subject area, library size, price, and more. It is also colour coded to alert you to updated titles and new titles added to the list.

If you have any questions, please contact LawMatters Program Coordinator Shannon McLeod at

Monday, March 27, 2017

Where are the Self-Counsel Press titles?

You may have noticed a change in the Law Books for Libraries list: a number of Self-Counsel Press (SCP) titles have been removed. Books by this publisher are often fairly popular - they have good name recognition.

The reason some SCP titles are not represented on the list is because many of them are intended to be used by a single purchaser. SCP no longer sells many of their kits to libraries – these are individually marked as such on their website as ‘not for sale to libraries.’

Please note that there are still some SPC titles on the LBL list – you should be able to order them as they do not have the library restriction marked on them.

Here is the list of titles not sold to libraries (don’t worry; I’m including some alternative resources so you can still find information on these topics!):

British Columbia Probate Kit: Everything you need to probate or administer an estate

I’m applying for probate; where can I find the forms required?
I am the executor of my mother's will and am doing the work myself
How do I know if a will has been probated?

Being an Executor (booklet)

British Columbia Do Your Own Divorce Kit


Family Law in British Columbia - Divorce & Separation
Our marriage is over; do we have to go to court?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries - Recorded Webinar Now Available

A recorded version of this webinar is now available!

Webinar Summary:

Join LawMatters Coordinator Shannon McLeod and Courthouse Libraries BC librarian Megan Smiley for this one hour webinar on building your library's legal collection.

Whether you have been handling your library's legal collection for a while or you are new to collecting legal materials, tune in to learn more about:

- Using the Law Books for Libraries (LBL) list
- An overview and what you can expect from different legal publishers
- Tips for selecting legal titles

We presented this webinar on March 8th - Check it out below!

Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries Recorded Webinar from Courthouse Libraries BC on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Getting Started with your Legal Collection – New Guide!

This year I’ve created a new document to help get you started with your legal collection.

Whether you are new to your role in collections, new to the LawMatters program, or are looking for a little more guidance making selections, I hope you will find this guide helpful! 

You have given me some great feedback about the collection support that LawMatters offers and one of the things I heard was that many of you would like a way to help prioritize purchases – a clearer way to figure out the best starting points for your legal collection.

The main selection tool provided by LawMatters is the Law Books for Libraries list. This list has been organized with filters to help you make selections by subject, library collection size, and more.

I recognize that this excel document can be a little overwhelming with over 230 titles currently listed! This new guide will provide information more “at-a-glance!” It is organized by subject and provides titles recommended for different size collections. All titles are also linked to the publishers’ pages.

This is a Word document so check out the headings in the Navigation Pane to quickly jump to the subject you want to explore.

Download the document here or check out the LawMatters website.

Take a look and let me know what you think!

Example from the Guide

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Grant Offers & New Law Books for Libraries List

It’s that time of year again! This week, LawMatters will be sending out grant offers to public libraries to be put towards building legal information collections.

How can my library participate?

A Grant Agreement Letter will be emailed to the chief librarians/directors of public libraries in BC along with the following:

  • Legal Collections – Getting Started (NEW)
  • Selection Guidelines
  • Law Books for Libraries (LBL) for 2017 (UPDATED)

All documents except for the Grant Agreement Letter are available online to view/download from the LawMatters website.

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 2017 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 16 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.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Legal Information Workshop and Community Discussion in Prince Rupert

Look at that sunset!
Last week I was in Prince Rupert to give a presentation on legal information and to help  facilitate discussion on local resources. It was a whirlwind trip but I had a great time!

My visit consisted of two parts (maybe three if you count watching the sunset):

Library Staff Presentation:

I gave a presentation to Prince Rupert Public Library staff on Legal Information and Help Online using Clicklaw. Everyone had great questions and experiences to share.

We covered accessing legal resources online, the differences between legal information and legal advice, and practice questions!

Community Discussion on Legal Information:

The library hosted representatives from community groups to discuss legal information and services in Prince Rupert.  I helped facilitate this discussion and highlighted the great legal resources that are available at the library!

This meeting provided an opportunity to make face-to-face connections, brainstorm ideas, and learn about resources like Clicklaw.

Thank You!

Joe and the staff at Prince Rupert Public Library for inviting me to give my presentation and for hosting the community discussion!

All of our participants at the Community Discussion on Legal Information for sharing their experiences, stories, and ideas!

All of this is a part of the services offered by the LawMatters Program. If you are interested in training or hosting a community discussion at your library, send me an email at!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Grants, Law Books List, Webinar Training … oh my!

Yes it’s that time of year again: the LawMattesr grants offers will be going out in March to the directors of your library systems … I will also be sending out the updated Law Books for Libraries (LBL) list! For those of you who may not be familiar, the LBL list is your guide to help make collections decisions.

Speaking of collections decisions … I am trying a little something different this year –

With the release of the grant offers and the LBL, I am also offering a webinar:

“Legal Collections 101"

March 8

Whether you have been handling your library’s legal collection for a while, or you are new to collecting legal materials, tune in to learn more about:

  • Using the LBL
  • An overview of what you can expect from different legal publishers
  • Tips for selecting legal titles

I will also be producing a couple more collections guides to help get you started!

As part of LawMatters, I want to make sure that you have the choice in deciding what legal materials are right for your library and your community – and that you have the tools to make these decisions. I hope that providing these guides and this webinar will help make using the grant and collecting legal materials easier!

New Webinar Series focuses on Making Connections: Organization Spotlights

Hello everyone, I am excited to announce a new webinar series we are trying with the LawMatter’s program this year: Organization Spotlights!

The legal information world can get confusing at times – there are many organizations and many acronyms! With this webinar series, I want to help you navigate public legal education and information (PLEI) – see there’s an acronym already!

Do you do outreach at your library?
Do you know who offers legal help or services in your community?

We are inviting organizations to share information about their services in this spotlight series to help shed some light on making local referrals and also exploring potential connections. We will be focusing on organizations that either have a physical presence across BC or are accessible throughout the province (phone services for example).

The first spotlight is March 2, 2017

Legal Services Society (LSS)
with Alex Peel,  Acting Community Engagement Coordinator
12:30pm - 1:30pm

How do people access legal aid in BC? The Legal Services Society (LSS) offers a range of legal help for British Columbians. In this webinar, learn what LSS provides and how you can direct patrons in your community to get free legal representation, advice, and information. With over 55 in-person locations in BC, there is likely even a local office you could send your patrons to. We’ll tell you where they are and what services they provide.

Stay tuned for more spotlights!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

LawMatters Celebrates 10 Years!

Happy 10th Anniversary Everyone!

LawMatters started as a 3 year project in 2007 – a decade later, we continue to offer the LawMatters program thanks to the engagement and enthusiasm of the library community!

It’s been a wonderful journey working together toward the shared goal of enhancing public access to legal information in all communities across British Columbia.

Did you know?

What's next?

Check out what we were up to in 2016: LawMatters Year in Review.

LawMatters will continue to seek out opportunities to connect libraries and their communities to legal information. We will also continue to provide collection support and guidance.

In 2017, we are planning more ways to offer legal information and professional development to public library staff – stay tuned!

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the LawMatters Program Coordinator, Shannon McLeod