Thursday, March 15, 2018

Legal Information vs. Legal Advice: A Quick Guide

As librarians and library staff, we are able to provide legal information to our patrons - not legal advice. This distinction can be a little tricky and sometimes it's not easy to communicate.

Whenever I do training sessions, I always like to reserve a little space to discuss the differences between legal information and legal advice. 

Providing legal information is a wonderful thing - it can help our patrons better understand their legal issues (or if they have a legal issue in the first place!) and empower them to make informed decisions about their next steps. However, there are some things we can't help with: We are not legally trained and cannot offer legal advice.

So what is the difference? 

I've put together a 2 page PDF that describes some of the things we can and can't do and also some tips and ways you can communicate your boundaries.

Click the image below to open the PDF or download it here: "A Quick Guide to Legal Information & Legal Advice for BC Librarians & Library Staff"

Monday, March 12, 2018

Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries (2018): Recorded Webinar Now Available

Weren't able to join us for our collections webinar? A recorded version of this webinar is now available - Check it out!

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.

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Webinar Announcement: Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries

Last year, we hosted our first "Legal Collections 101 for Public Libraries" - I'm happy to announce that we will be offering this webinar again this year!

The content will largely be the same as our previous webinar, so if you didn't get a chance to attend (or you want a refresher), sign up for this session!

In this presentation, I will be joined once again by Courthouse Libraries BC librarian Megan Smiley for this one hour webinar on building your library's legal collection.

We will be covering:

  • LawMatters collection guides (like the Law Books for Libraries list)
  • An overview and what you can expect from different legal publishers
  • Tips for selecting legal titles
  • Retention and weeding considerations

We will present this webinar on March 8th at 12:30pm PST- hope you can make it!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Mediate BC Offering Programming for Libraries

Mediate BC offers public sessions on a variety of mediation topics.
This year, they are expanding their programming - If you think your patrons might be interested in mediation topics, consider hosting a session!

If you are interested in hosting a session contact Zoe Stryd @ 

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process for solving conflicts (disputes) without going to court. Two or more parties meet in a private and informal setting to try to settle their dispute with the help of a mediator (a person trained to help people settle conflicts together).


Here are a few write-ups for sample programs Mediate BC can offer: 


When making plans to make sure you, or an older parent, have the care to be comfortable in the future, a lot of difficult conversations can come up. Conversations about money, providing care, addressing concerns, and making arrangements may not be easy. Family members might not agree on the best course of action and often these conversations are emotionally complex.

Join a professional mediator and expert in conflict resolution for a free workshop at your local public library. In this session you will learn tools and strategies for making these conversations easier and more successful. You will also learn what options and resources are available should you need some help in coming to an agreement on how to move forward. 


Every workplace has disagreements and conflict. Handled well, they can be opportunities for improvement and innovation. Handled poorly, these conflicts can harm the company and employees through decreased effectiveness and increased stress, mental health issues, and employee turnover.

Join a conflict resolution expert for a free workshop on effectively managing workplace conflict. This session will provide you with tools to handle disagreements with co-workers, supervisors, and clients more easily. We will also discuss what your options are when conflict has escalated and how to save time, money, and stress by resolving your conflict out of court.


Join a professional mediator for a workshop on effectively managing family conflict. We will discuss how to have better conversations where everyone feels respected and heard. This includes managing conflict with teens and tips for effective co-parenting with your current or former partner. We will also discuss resources and options should you need some extra help finding a resolution.

This session is great for any family that wants to have more tools to resolve problems easily and effectively. It is suitable for separated parents and those who are still together.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Legal Directory Online

Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (CBABC) Launches New BC Legal Directory 

The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing lawyers, judges and law students across Canada. 

After 30 years in print, the publication is now online and freely accessible to the public for the first time.

This title may sound familiar to you - the print directory has long been included in the LawMatters Law Books for Libraries list. I have removed it from the list but I still recommend that you make this a part of your legal reference toolkit!

This is a tool that can be useful for making referrals. If you have a patron who is looking for a lawyer and doesn't know how to find one, you can show them this directory.

The directory is searchable by:

  • name
  • location
  • languages spoken
  • areas of practice 

“We’ve turned the page on the old BC Legal Directory,” said CBABC president Bill Veenstra. “More than simply accessing information, we’ve evolved it to be very easy to use, with richer content now accessible to everyone on any device. The new directory is a go-to resource for BC lawyers and other legal professionals, along with members of the public who need to access the legal community”
- CBABC Launches New BC Legal Directory, Media release, January 24, 2018

Browse the new BC Legal Directory at and click "Find-A-Lawyer" to start your search.

Other Referral Resources:

Clicklaw HelpMap

If your patron is looking for no-cost or low-cost legal help or services, the Clicklaw HelpMap is a good place to start.

BC Family Unbundling Roster for family law issues.

The BC Family Law Unbundling Roster is a list of family lawyers & paralegals who will perform select legal tasks for clients who do not want or cannot afford full-representation. Unbundled legal services means clients pay for some assistance depending on what help they want & what they can afford.

Friday, January 12, 2018

2018 Training Opportunities

Did you know?

LawMatters provides professional development for library staff - We train on finding and using legal information resources to help you answer legal questions on the reference desk. Plus, training can be customized to suit your library's interests or information needs!

If your library is interested in learning more about legal information and resources (and how to use them!) please email me at OR fill out the Google Form embedded below:

If you have any questions, please send me an email.

In-person training for library staff is FREE - this includes travel!
Check out where we've been recently:

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy 2018 Everyone!

This year, LawMatters will continue to offer collection development guidance, grants, and professional development!

If you are new to the LawMatters program here is a quick overview:

LawMatters believes libraries are the key to informed and connected communities. We work with public libraries to ensure that legal information is accessible for those who need it in every community in BC.

How we help:

Expert collection guidance -

Not sure how to build your legal collection? We provide the subject expertise!

Grants to help you build your legal collection and keep it updated.

Professional development for library staff -
Learn how to find and use legal information and answer legal questions on the reference desk.