Tonya Baroudi

Tonya Baroudi


Director of Library Services
Prince George’s County Maryland

1. What motivated you to market The Judiciary Project: A Courthouse Experience?

In 2016 the Court Administrator asked me to conduct a tour for a group of high school students. I strongly believe she felt confident in my abilities to turn this tour into a meaningful program for the community. Participants experience the judicial system firsthand by observing a trial, speaking with a Circuit Court judge, and engaging in a question and answer session. In addition, it is a great opportunity to introduce participants to careers in the justice system, to understand the importance of the judicial system, and to learn more about one of the three branches of government.

2. How has the program been received so far, and how will you evaluate its success?

The program has been well received. We have had over 500 participants from public and private high schools and community organizations. We evaluate the success of the program by the feedback from teachers and program organizers, and the number of returning participants. Currently, we are organizing student visits for this Spring and a youth program in June. Criminal cases are the most highly requested case type, but the highlight of the program is the canine demonstration presented by an officer from the Sheriff’s department.

3. What “if only I knew!” advice would you give others wanting to replicate the program?

The more the merrier. We soon discovered the need to add a variety of speakers to the program. We’ve invited court interpreters, court reporters, bailiffs, law librarians, social workers, teen court coordinators, and youth liaisons. Participants are not aware of the variety of occupations available at the courthouse, and they are most appreciative to learn about the many careers in the field of law. Also, participants like take-aways. Whenever possible, we end the session in the law library and distribute drawstring gift bags that have the Maryland Judiciary logo.

4. What’s the best way to spend a day off from work?

Binge-watching college or professional tennis. If that one day off runs concurrent with the Citi Open tournament, then you can find me on the tournament grounds at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center in Washington, D.C.

5. What are you currently reading?

I am bouncing between Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou and The Devil that Danced on Water, by Aminatta Forna.