By Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Director of Legal Resources and Communications
One thing I have discovered over the last few years is if you want to develop an innovative project, enlist librarians. I have had the privilege of working with extremely knowledgeable library staff at the Law Society and through the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project (SALI). Librarians play a key role in access to legal information, as I recently highlighted in my post about the presentation I delivered at the University of North Texas Open Access Symposium 2019. They are trusted intermediaries that can help navigate the plethora of legal information for the public and direct them to reliable sources.
I have also gained knowledge and experience from the BC LawMatters program and we recently began sharing our own experiences with a new emerging program in Ontario, the National Self Represented Litigants Project’s Family Law at the Library Project. Our three projects have realized that together we are stronger. That is, we can more efficiently create resources and training if we work together.
At the Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference (CALL) held May 27-29, 2019 in Edmonton, our three programs presented the following:
Part 1: The Role of Legal Information Providers and Public Libraries in Promoting Access to Justice: Exploring Opportunities and Challenges Presented by: Brea Lowenberger, CREATE Justice and Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Law Society of Saskatchewan
In part 1 of this session, Melanie and Brea facilitated a macro discussion to set the stage for conversation about establishing a “National Trusted Intermediaries – Legal Information Network” (TI-LI Network). They drew on their experience in co-establishing the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information (SALI) Project to share their observations on the need for a establishing a national network, and invited participants’ feedback on this emerging development.
Part 2: The Role of Legal Information Providers and Public Libraries in Promoting Access to Justice: Exploring Opportunities and Challenges Presented by: Dayna Cornwall, NSRLP and Megan Smiley, LawMatters
In part 2 of this session, Dayna and Megan facilitated a micro discussion on lessons learned in establishing, like the SALI Project, library and legal information projects in Ontario and British Columbia. Dayna shared initial lessons learned in establishing the “Family Law at the Library”, a new project that involves partnering with libraries in the Windsor area, and Megan shared how Courthouse Libraries BC has worked since 2007 with public libraries to enhance public access to legal information in all communities throughout British Columbia.
We issued a call to action to participants to create a national network of similar programs. The Trusted Intermediary – Legal Information Network (TI-LI) will facilitate knowledge and resource exchange, and provide an opportunity for new programs to learn from the experiences of more established programs.
Pease contact me at email@example.com if you have interest in joining the TI-LI Network and/or have any questions.