Thursday, February 2, 2017

Grants, Law Books List, Webinar Training … oh my!

Yes it’s that time of year again: the LawMattesr grants offers will be going out in March to the directors of your library systems … I will also be sending out the updated Law Books for Libraries (LBL) list! For those of you who may not be familiar, the LBL list is your guide to help make collections decisions.

Speaking of collections decisions … I am trying a little something different this year –

With the release of the grant offers and the LBL, I am also offering a webinar:

“Legal Collections 101"

March 8

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 LBL
  • An overview of what you can expect from different legal publishers
  • Tips for selecting legal titles

I will also be producing a couple more collections guides to help get you started!

As part of LawMatters, I want to make sure that you have the choice in deciding what legal materials are right for your library and your community – and that you have the tools to make these decisions. I hope that providing these guides and this webinar will help make using the grant and collecting legal materials easier!

New Webinar Series focuses on Making Connections: Organization Spotlights

Hello everyone, I am excited to announce a new webinar series we are trying with the LawMatter’s program this year: Organization Spotlights!

The legal information world can get confusing at times – there are many organizations and many acronyms! With this webinar series, I want to help you navigate public legal education and information (PLEI) – see there’s an acronym already!

Do you do outreach at your library?
Do you know who offers legal help or services in your community?

We are inviting organizations to share information about their services in this spotlight series to help shed some light on making local referrals and also exploring potential connections. We will be focusing on organizations that either have a physical presence across BC or are accessible throughout the province (phone services for example).

The first spotlight is March 2, 2017

Legal Services Society (LSS)
with Alex Peel,  Acting Community Engagement Coordinator
12:30pm - 1:30pm

How do people access legal aid in BC? The Legal Services Society (LSS) offers a range of legal help for British Columbians. In this webinar, learn what LSS provides and how you can direct patrons in your community to get free legal representation, advice, and information. With over 55 in-person locations in BC, there is likely even a local office you could send your patrons to. We’ll tell you where they are and what services they provide.

Stay tuned for more spotlights!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

LawMatters Celebrates 10 Years!

Happy 10th Anniversary Everyone!

LawMatters started as a 3 year project in 2007 – a decade later, we continue to offer the LawMatters program thanks to the engagement and enthusiasm of the library community!

It’s been a wonderful journey working together toward the shared goal of enhancing public access to legal information in all communities across British Columbia.

Did you know?

What's next?

Check out what we were up to in 2016: LawMatters Year in Review.

LawMatters will continue to seek out opportunities to connect libraries and their communities to legal information. We will also continue to provide collection support and guidance.

In 2017, we are planning more ways to offer legal information and professional development to public library staff – stay tuned!

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the LawMatters Program Coordinator, Shannon McLeod

Thursday, December 22, 2016

LawMatters Year in Review

As 2016 comes to an end, I want to thank everyone for a wonderful year – This was my first year as your LawMatters Coordinator and it has been a pleasure working with you!

Here is an overview of some of the things LawMatters worked on this year:

Grants & Collections

Grants are distributed annually to help purchase legal information and reference materials.

This year, LawMatters distributed grants to 67 library systems in British Columbia!

The Law Books for Libraries list was re-organized to help you quickly navigate recommended legal titles for purchase based on subject, size, publisher, and more! In the New Year, I will continue to work on improving this selection tool based on your suggestions and feedback!

Workshops & Training

LawMatters offers training sessions to public librarians to improve their confidence helping the public with legal information questions. 

BC Library Conference 2016 - Stocking you Legal Reference Toolkit

This year I presented at the BC Library Conference with Kate Sloan from New Westminster Public Library.We presented on legal information resources or ‘tools’ you can add to your reference ‘toolkit.’

It was a great conference, I really enjoyed meeting so many of you!

Introduction to Legal Reference and Resources - Workshops

Sunset in Powell River
One of the things I love about the LawMatters program is being able to bring legal information training directly to you! It was great meeting so many passionate and engaged librarians around the province! This year I provided training sessions at:

  • Vancouver Public Library
  • Sechelt Public Library & Gibsons District Public Library
  • Powell River Public Library
  • The Northwest Library Federation Conference at Terrace Public Library 

If your library is interested in an in-person training session, please let me know!

Create, Connect, Communicate Conference 2016 – Public Legal Education and the Access to Justice Movement

A rainy Toronto afternoon

I learned a lot about access to justice initiatives from around the country attending this conference in Toronto. I also had the opportunity to present on one of Courthouse Library BC’s programs: Clicklaw Wikibooks!*

*Clicklaw Wikibooks are collaboratively developed, plain language legal publications that are published and kept up-to-date on a wiki. More than 50 legal professionals contribute to the Clicklaw Wikibooks collection.

Clicklaw Webinar - Introduction to Legal Information & Help Online - Clicklaw Refresher

LawMatters and Clicklaw put together a webinar for you! Looking for a refresher on using Clicklaw? Recording is available here.


Here are some of the organizations we worked with this year:

Civil Resolution Tribunal

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is Canada’s first online tribunal for resolving strata and small claims disputes. This year, the CRT launched its Strata Dispute Solution Explorer and began accepting strata property disputes for intake. We put on a couple of webinar presentations with CRT Chair Shannon Salter. See the recordings here and here.

Legal Services Society (LSS)

LSS has many great (and free!) legal information publications. LawMatters teamed up with LSS to help get you started with legal info ‘freebies.’ For libraries interested in starting a legal information display (or those of you who wanted to refresh your displays) we offered a Starter Legal Display Kit.

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry

Nidus presented a series of webinars and public libraries across BC were invited to host personal planning webinars for their patrons.

Nidus also presented a webinar specifically for public librarians and intermediaries. See a recording of the webinar here.


This year, we began an evaluation of the LawMatters program to see how we can best support public libraries and librarians in BC to provide their communities with up-to-date, reliable public legal information. So far, we have conducted a survey and several interviews. We plan to finish the evaluation early 2017.

I want to thank everyone who has participated so far - your feedback and ideas are important in shaping the future of the LawMatters program!

See you in 2017!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Starter Legal Display Kits Arriving Now!

Those of you who ordered legal information pamphlets through Legal Services Society to start your legal displays should be seeing your orders arriving now!

Thank you all for your enthusiasm! I hope that this information will be valuable for you and your patrons. You can order any of the publications for free at any time through Crown Publications.

Okanagan Regional Library's bundles of legal info

Unfortunately, some publications may have been out of stock when ordered - many of them are either being reprinted or redeveloped. These include:

  • Live Safe End Abuse series
    •  The Criminal Court Process (Eng)
    • Parenting (Eng)
    • Safety Planning (Eng)
    • What is Abuse? (Eng)
    • Women Abused By Their Partners (Eng)
  • Living Together or Living Apart (Eng)
  • Need Help with Your Refugee Claim (Eng/Spa)
  • Separation Agreements (Eng)
  • Aboriginal Child Protection wallet card (Eng)

Please contact Patricia Lim at if you have any questions about your order or questions about when publications will become available.

Okanagan Regional Library packing up publications to send out to their branches! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

LawMatters Evaluation Update - Survey Winners!

As many of you may know, CLBC is evaluating the LawMatters program  to see how we can best support public libraries and librarians in BC to provide their communities with up-to-date, reliable public legal information.

The first part of the evaluation process was a survey. I want to thank everyone who participated, it is fantastic to hear all of your ideas and it will really help shape the direction of the program!

We hope to have a report available early 2017.

In the meantime, the survey did have an incentive... there was a draw for 5 $50 gift cards to Chapters/Indigo.

Without further ado, the winners are:
  • Debby from Fraser Valley Regional Library 
  • Sherry from Granisle Public Library
  • James from Okanagan Regional Library
  • Sam from Okanagan Regional Library
  • Jane from Radium Public Library
The second phase of the LawMatters evaluation is an interview - if you are one of my LawMatters contacts and want your voice heard, email me ( and I can set you up for an interview! Thank you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Legal Information Display – Q&A with Sechelt Public Library

For today’s blog post, I did a Q & A with Lorinda at Sechelt Public library. Lorinda is the main LawMatters contact as Sechelt Public Library and has been putting up a legal information display for years! She shares her experiences with us here – Thanks Lorinda!

How long have you had your legal info freebie display?

Pretty much from the start of the LawMatters project. The list "Law Books for Libraries" has always been a big help with this.

How do you order your free materials?

Once again - the "Law Books for Libraries" list is a great resource.

All the sources for freebies are listed.  I've created an account with the Queen's Printer and it's quick and easy.

Is it easy to keep up?

Pretty much.  It is amazing how fast some of the titles disappear - in particular anything to do with wills and estates.  I have to keep a close eye that we are not running out.

What about space concerns?

We have set aside dedicated display space for our legal pamphlets.  We find that a 4 or 5 foot slat wall display unit, in addition to a couple of spinning display holders is plenty.

What are your frustrations with free materials?

The main frustration is over time I have noticed fewer and fewer titles available in print format.  Print is important to our patrons for a number of reasons.  First of all, there are many seniors in
Sechelt, and many of them are not comfortable with online technology.

Secondly, many people are unaware these legal resources exist - and an eye catching display is the best way to get the word out.  A poster giving a website just doesn't have the same impact.

What is the reception? (How do your patrons like the freebies?)

We have had a great deal of positive response - proven by the large numbers of pamphlets that go out the door each week.

What titles/subjects do you see the most use out of?

For our demographics here in Sechelt it is mainly wills and estates and services related to seniors.

What benefits have you seen from putting on a legal display?

The pamphlets serve as an excellent segue from general information, to
more detailed and specific information.  

The pamphlets give an overview of the topic, a glossary of legal terminology, and then ideas about where to go for more information.  Library staff can then assist with either tracking down more in-depth print resources, or helping the patron access appropriate online resources.

Picture by Lorinda

If you have any questions about ordering free legal information materials or about the Law Books for Libraries List, please contact me at