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Law Week 2016

Congratulations to you all for a fantastic Law Week 2016! This year, I counted 111 events in NSW public libraries, reaching thousands of people in the community. It’s great to see Law Week events are as popular as ever in libraries and in the community.

Many libraries chose to highlight the legal collections with a display. Simply by moving the collection from its usual spot to a more prominent place in the library is a great way of drawing attention to the resources. Many of you utilised your glass display cases to create attractive displays.

With the Speakers Bureau no longer available, it was great to see that many libraries were able to find local solicitors to talk on legal subjects of interest to the community. Subjects addressed include wills and planning ahead, family law, neighbours and the law, tenancy, strata living, running a small business, scam awareness, shopping rights, and purchasing property.  Many of these talks were in community languages.

Three libraries partnered with their local community legal centre to organise legal talks:

  • Campbelltown Library worked with the Macarthur Legal Centre to present a talk at their Glenquarie library branch on how to get legal help if you can't afford a lawyer. This was one of a series of ten talks on various subjects being held in partnership with the library and Macarthur Legal Centre throughout the year. 
  • Hawkesbury Library partnered with the Hawkesbury Nepean Community Legal Centre to present a talk on planning for ageing, and commented that it was good to connect with a community organisation and promote the library's legal resource collection
  • Shoalhaven Library worked with the Shoalcoast Community Legal Service to present a talk on planning ahead. The event was so successful that the library and CLC are planning to combine for another event later in the year.

Despite the short time to prepare, 13 libraries partnered with Legal Aid NSW to present eight family life and the law talks and six Law Week checkups. These were largely successful, with many of the participating libraries keen to present the program again next year. One library commented that the people attending the Law Week checkup were not regular library users, and that they found the event very successful as the information people wanted could be targeted to their individual needs. They covered a range of topics for those who attended and clients seemed satisfied with the outcomes. Would love to extend on this for 2017 and promote more widely.

Highlights

Kempsey Library had a display which included the Law Week showbags, the Tool Kit books and Legal Aid pamphlets and booklets. They also featured one Tool Kit title per day on their circulation desk – a really simple but very effective idea! They also hosted a talk by a local solicitor and elder law expert who spoke on estate planning, with a special focus on blended families and second marriages. The talk was attended by 35 people, including a large proportion of males who would not normally attend a library event. The talk was very well received and the presenter was very generous with his time afterward to answer individual queries.

Manly Library took their mobile library van out for three mornings during Law Week, visiting the Manly Ocean Beachfront, Manly Farmers Market and Manly Wharf. The trips were very successful in promoting Law Week, legal resources and the library services. Feedback was positive and people were generally interested and glad that they could come to the library or visit the website for free legal information.

 Small library van with books on display

Manly Library's mobile library van at Manly Ocean Beachfront 

The Lennox Head branch of Richmond-Tweed Regional Library had the JP service available every morning during Law Week. A great idea – library clients appreciated the service, and it highlighted the fact that the JP service is also available throughout the year at the branch.

Richmond-Upper Clarence Regional Library had the wonderful opportunity to reach a wide audience at the Saturday Beef Week Parade. The Library had a stall where they gave away showbags, books, pamphlets and information. It was also an opportunity to forge a partnership with Richmond Valley Council, informing council staff of the Find Legal Answers service so that they will refer customers with legal queries to the Library. A great opportunity to raise the profile of the Find Legal Answers service and the library to the 10,000 people who attended, reaching those from rural areas as well as customers from neighbouring councils/libraries. Beef Week was highly successful and the library has been invited to do the same thing at Primex, a 3 day agricultural expo. The library also plans to take Find Legal Answers to local businesses as well as the local women's shelter and neighbourhood centre. 

Singleton Library celebrated Law Week with the eighth consecutive performance of The Law Week Play. Students from a local high school partnered once again with the Library, with generous donations of time given to the Library by the local police, Local Court Registrar, and a local solicitor. The play was written, produced and directed by year 11 drama students. This year’s play focused on underage drinking, secondary supply, drink spiking, and filming without permission.

Sutherland Library hosted a Find Legal Answers stall at a free breakfast held at the neighbourhood community centre, with a Legal Aid NSW solicitor available for appointment at the centre at the same time. The stall was successful in raising awareness of the Find Legal Answers service at the library to the community and to the other agencies who attended the breakfast, with one lady heading to the library immediately, joining up and borrowing a Tool Kit book.

Tamworth Library partnered with Multicultural Tamworth to target their Law Week promotion toward the multicultural community, with four guest panellists from Tamworth Police, Legal Aid, Fair Trading and a local real estate office. Each panellist discussed the rights and responsibilities of the multicultural community in regards to the topics of employment, driving laws (drink driving and driving without a licence), buying a car, car insurance, and tenancy rights. The panel discussion also included a Q and A session. Tamworth Library also used this opportunity to promote the Find Legal Answers Tool Kit particularly the books dealing with the above issues. The discussion was then followed up with a catered morning tea. Thirty people attended the event, and the library received very positive feedback from the audience and guest speakers.

Wollongong Library had a Stall in the Mall, an information stall in the weekly farmers market held in the Wollongong CBD. Library staff had plenty of interaction with people in the mall, handing out lots of flyers, and talking to about 50 people. They found legal information on the Find Legal Answers website for people, and referred others to appropriate legal services. The library found this to be asuccessful promotional event. The library display was attractive, interesting and informative, generating interest from library visitors.

Social media

LIAC supported public libraries with a Law Week social media campaign, using Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. We had a scheduled program of tweets and posts, promoting each day's activities at public libraries. Libraries were encouraged to use the hastags #nswpubliclibraries and #LawWeek so we could follow the conversations. The campaign proved very successful once again, with a significant increase in our Facebook and Twitter audience reach and followers over Law Week.

Thanks to all of you who provided feedback and photos. You can check out the photos on the Law Week Pinterest board.