|Legal Information to the Public|
Please join us in St. Louis at the Annual Meeting on Monday, July 10, 2006 from 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM. The room location has yet to be assigned.
We will begin by having an informal discussion of strategies for effectively dealing with pro se patrons moderated again this year by Amy Hale-Janeke.
Then Barbara Golden, the Minnesota State Law Librarian, will briefly discuss the unique "Law Library Service to Prisoners" project at the MN State Law Library and take questions.
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Katrina damaged New Orleans’ public libraries as badly as everything else in this partially sub-sea-level city.
Underfunded before the storm, the public library system struggled to provide adequate service, so there was nothing extra to restock and rebuild. 80% of the staff have been laid off. Few branches are open.
But help is on the way.
Library Journal and the American Library Association are working to renovate and restock two branches, the neighborhood Alvar branch and the larger Children’s Resource Center.
The Alvar branch
Library Journal has led the drive for library-industry in-kind donations totaling $400,000, including shelf-ready books from Baker and Taylor, computers and shelving, and pro bono services from the Minneapolis architectural firm of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle. The New Orleans Public Library Foundation has raised another $400,000 in donations for building repairs.
Alvar was selected for renovation because it was structurally sound, the area was not severely flooded and has repopulated, and is among the most diverse in the city. The grade-level library was flooded, however, and the contents were destroyed by mold.
The branch will have 24 computers (up from 8) and wireless Internet access.
Volunteers are landscaping the modest green space on either side of the building. The larger space will become a community park. Hours for the park, and plans for it to be available for community functions, are in the works. The smaller space will become a secure spot for families to read together, or for the kids to play while adults read or access the new wireless Internet service.
At 2400 square feet, Alvar, with its charming art deco facade, is the smallest branch in the system. It will serve all New Orleans Public Library patrons, concentrating on the Bywater, Holy Cross, and Marigny neighborhoods it is situated in, with their mix of artists, musicians, large GLBT community, and African Americans. The under-construction Habitat for Humanity musicians’ village is within walking distance of the branch.
It will also serve New Orleans’ large Vietnamese community, because at 14 miles away, it is the closest branch that was not completely destroyed by the storm.
The first shipment of books is due June 19. A grand opening is scheduled for Sunday June 25, during ALA’s annual meeting here in New Orleans.
The Children’s Resource Center
The American Library Association has taken the lead with Highsmith in a similar drive to renovate and restock the Children’s Resource Center in Uptown New Orleans.
Located in an expanded Carnegie library, the center did not suffer as much damage as many other branches, but was still in need of renovation, and appealed to many who wanted to contribute to children’s library services. It is now open.
It has received $200,000 in industry in-kind donations as well, including shelf-ready books. The New Orleans Public Library Foundation has raised another $200,000 for building repairs.
ABA donates. You, too?
The Labor and Employment Law Section of the American Bar Association has donated $25,000 for the Children’s Resource Center, $25,000 for the business, economics, government, law, and justice collections at the New Orleans Public Library’s main branch, and is working to raise more funds for the Alvar branch.
The main branch and its subterranean basements survived unflooded.
To donate, go to the New Orleans Public Library’s homepage, www.nutrias.org, scroll down, and click links for the New Orleans Public Library Foundation Rebuilding Campaign or the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library’s Restoration Fund.
Or you can got to www.powells.com, click bestsellers, scroll to #18, New Orleans Public Library Book Pledge: Tax-deductible Contribution, and click.
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Self Help News
The Self Represented Litigation Network is an open and growing grouping of organizations and working groups dedicated to fulfilling the promise of a justice system that works for all, including those who can not afford lawyers and are therefore forced to go to court on their own. The Network brings together courts and access to justice organizations in support of innovations in services for the self represented.
The Network’s participants already range from the Conference of State Court Administrators and the National Association for Court Management to the State Justice Institute, from the American Judicature Society to the Harvard Law School Bellow Sacks Project on Access to Civil Justice, and from the National Association of IOLTA programs to state court administrative offices such as those of California and Maryland.
The participants are cooperating in a wide variety of collaborative efforts and working groups. These efforts include providing information about innovations for the self represented, promoting best practices in such areas as the setting up of self help offices, the use of forms, and e-filing, discrete task representation, and judicial practices and education programs, establishing a research agenda, and working for integration with the system as a whole and for long term funding to support access to justice for the self-represented.
Initial concrete projects include the www.selfhelpsupport.org website, cooperation in the planning of a series of three regional conferences on self-represented litigation, and the distribution of a national directory of court-based programs for the self represented.
The Network welcomes additional organizational members, seeks volunteers from member and non member organizations to join its working groups and is fully open to suggestions for new projects and partnerships. Neither membership nor participation requires a contribution or fee.
The Network operates under a Memorandum of Understanding, and is hosted by the National Center for State Courts. Funding is provided by the State Justice Institute, the National Center for State Courts and various state courts.
The above press release was submitted by Charles Dyer, who is serving on the network’s Information, Marketing and Outreach Group, which plans to create a sub-group of law librarians and other librarians. Also, a new AALL Special Committee on Pro Bono Partnerships has been created for 2006-07 by incoming President Sally Holterhoff, to be chaired by Sara Galligan. One of the charges for this special committee is to recommend to the AALL Executive Board how AALL can become involved with the Self-Represented Litigation Network of the National Center for State Courts. Watch for more information about this committee to be announced soon.
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