Learn how to assist library patrons, including self-represented litigants, through legal research instruction, programming, and outreach.
According to the National Center for State Courts, in 76 percent of civil cases in the United States at least one of the parties represents themself. As more people represent themselves in court, more are coming to the library to seek answers to legal questions.
Do you ever feel panicked when someone asks you a legal reference question? Are you are not sure where to look for information or how much information you can provide? What can libraries do to assist self-represented litigants? Deborah Hamilton began her career as a law librarian with no formal legal training. Now, not only does she help people with legal reference questions, but she also provides legal programming and outreach to the community.
Learn the difference between legal information and legal advice as well as how to connect with community groups who provide legal services. In this book, Hamilton teaches librarians how to teach themselves about legal research and resources, as well as offering practical ideas for types of legal programs and outreach that they can proactively offer patrons.
Get ideas for legal programming and outreach to assist patrons with legal questions
Know where to find free legal resources and how to research legal questions
Understand the difference between legal information and legal advice
Learn where to look for and how to connect with community groups who provide legal services
Understand the justice gap and the challenges that patrons face when they represent themselves
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Deborah A. Hamilton is the strategic services librarian who oversees the law collection at Pikes Peak Library District. She has served as president, vice president, and secretary for the Colorado Association of Law Libraries.
"This guide would be helpful to anyone who provides reference services, especially those new to legal reference." - Library Journal "Anyone who wants to be a better librarian or who trains new reference staff on challenges such as
these should get this book!" - Public Libraries "Deborah A. Hamilton's new book sheds light on the access to justice crisis in the American legal system and illustrates valuable strategies for how libraries can help." - Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship "This excellent handbook is confidently recommended for any public library without specialized legal-research librarians on staff. Most academic librarians will find it a worthwhile purchase as well." - Booklist