Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice through Public Libraries

RUSA is supporting a national training initiative from OCLC’s WebJunction. The course is Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice through Public Libraries and will be offered for free. The purpose of the course is to offer training for non-law librarians who deal with pro-se patrons.

About

WebJunction is partnering with the nonprofit organization,  to offer Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice through Public Libraries, a free national training initiative for public library staff to help strengthen access to civil legal justice.

Barriers to civil legal justice disproportionately affect low-income people in the U.S., creating the justice gap—the divide between the civil legal needs of low-income people and the resources to meet those needs. Though legal issues can be intimidating for library staff, public libraries are well positioned to help reduce this justice gap by providing more access points to legal information and services.

WebJunction will host a webinar on February 11, 2020, 3:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern, where participants will learn about the status of civil legal justice in our system, the vital role public libraries can play in reducing the justice gap, and about the live, multi-week course to be offered in April, which takes a deeper look at supporting people to navigate the complexities of the legal system.

To register for the webinar and learn more about the project see 

Full Webinar Description:

The lofty U.S. ideal of “justice for all” fails the equity test because many people, especially our nation’s poorest individuals, fall into the “justice gap”—the divide between the civil legal needs of low-income people and the resources to meet those needs. Many of your community members who instinctively turn to the library for help with crises in their lives might be on the verge of falling into this gap. Though legal issues can be intimidating for library staff, public libraries are well positioned to help reduce the justice gap. Join us to learn about the status of civil legal justice in our system and about the vital role you can play in connecting people with information and supporting them as they navigate the complexities of the legal system. Law librarian Catherine McGuire, who has conducted extensive trainings with public libraries, will share insights into interacting with patrons who approach the library with civil legal needs. With a basic understanding of the civil legal justice landscape, we hope you will be motivated to plunge deeper into helping close the justice gap by taking the live, multi-week online course to be offered in April.

Presented by: Catherine McGuire, Head of Reference and Outreach, Thurgood Marshall State Law Library, Maryland; and Betha Gutsche, WebJunction Programs Manager, OCLC

Project training dates:

February 11, 2020: A free webinar: 

April 2020: Creating Pathways to Civil Legal Justice, a multiweek course that takes a deeper look at supporting people in navigating the complexities of the legal system. Registration will open in February 2020

October 2020: A self-paced online training available in WebJunction’s Course Catalog

March 2021: An instructor-led facilitator training that will prepare library staff to guide peer learning groups through the self-paced course.

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