The Role of Libraries in Access to Justice Initiatives

Many local public libraries as well as law libraries are actively involved in access to justice initiatives.

In a recent post entitled Justice at your library? on the website of PLE Learning Exchange Ontario, Michele Leering, the Executive Director with the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre in Belleville, Ontario, writes about one such project, the Librarians & Justice partnership in southeastern Ontario.

She also provides a link to a page about PLE for librarians [PLE = public legal education]:

“Library staff in Ontario are ideally placed to serve as key intermediaries in distributing legal information and referrals to library patrons. Public libraries, law libraries and courthouse libraries host dozens or hundreds of people a day, many of whom might be dealing with legal problems.

As an example of the many initiatives taking place in Canada, the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre is organizing a meeting on Thursday, October 29 at the offices of the Law Society of Upper Canada on Queen St. in downtown Toronto to discuss how justice partners and librarians can together enhance access to legal services in Ontario’s rural and remote communities.

The meeting will go from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. Registration is free but places are limited. The deadline for registering is September 30.

Organizers want to:

  • Raise awareness about the prevalence of common legal problems with significant impacts if left unresolved
  • Learn about the need for credible and plain language legal information caused by a growing access to justice crisis in Canada.
  • Learn about interesting initiatives in Ontario and across Canada and in other countries like Australia and the U.S. and hear from B.C. Courthouse Librarian Janet Freeman about their innovative Law Matters program, Wikibooks, and ClickLaw website initiatives.
  • To provide fodder and inspiration for potential new projects and new prototypes to make a real difference in our communities.
  • Help you take action with new partners.

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