Information for public libraries about how to manage the Find Legal Answers service in your library
Public libraries provide the Find Legal Answers service to the community of NSW by providing resources and trained staff, with the support of State Library Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) staff. In order to successfully deliver the Find Legal Answers service to the community, each library that has signed an agreement with LIAC (a LIAC library) is encouraged to appoint one or two staff members to be LIAC contacts.
The LIAC contact:
- Maintains communication with LIAC
- Updates the collections
- Organises LIAC training
- Promotes the Find Legal Answers service
Maintains communication with LIAC
Contact Catherine Bryant in LIAC to be added to the LIAC email list. LIAC sends regular emails to LIAC contacts about collection updates, training and other news. LIAC will also add you to the list to receive the Find Legal Answers e-news, a twice yearly summary of the Find Legal Answers service in public libraries.
The LIAC and Drug Info Forum is held once a year at the State Library, and we strongly encourage the LIAC contact to attend. The Forum provides an opportunity to share ideas and experiences, to evaluate current strategies, to plan for the year ahead, and for LIAC staff to gain valuable feedback from public libraries about the service in their communities.
Updates the collections
There are four LIAC collections in public libraries: the Find Legal Answers Tool Kit, the Law Books for Libraries collection, the pamphlet collection and the Hot Topics collection.
The LIAC contact ensures these collections are kept up to date, ordering new titles and discarding old editions as required.
Organises LIAC training
LIAC provides a training program for public library staff, made up of the Legal Information Workshop, the Legal Information Workshop advanced modules Legislation and Case law, and the Find Legal Answers Awareness training.
The LIAC contact arranges training for staff at their library. This can be done by public library staff, using training notes provided by LIAC.
LIAC staff can also visit metro and regional libraries to conduct training for public library staff. Please note that visits are subject to staff availability. Contact Catherine to arrange training in your library.
Promotes the Find Legal Answers service
Libraries can promote the service to the community in many different ways, including taking promotional material to local courts and other agencies, displaying the Tool Kit prominently in the library, talking to community groups, posting on the library or council’s social media platforms, running training sessions for council staff, including articles in local newspapers and newsletters, and arranging events.
Many libraries hold events during Law Week. Law Week, held in May each year, is a nationwide initiative to promote community awareness and understanding of the law, the legal system and the legal profession. Courts, legal agencies, solicitors, barristers, police and public libraries are all encouraged to get involved. It’s an excellent opportunity for libraries to promote the Find Legal Answers resources and service to the community.
Events held by libraries include displays, talks on legal topics by local solicitors, expos, plays, stalls and storytime events. Information to help libraries plan events is added to website every year in plenty of time for Law Week.
LIAC provides a range of Find Legal Answers promotional material, including flyers, bookmarks, magnets and signage. It is important to make sure libraries have the most recent material on display, and that out of date material is discarded. A list of current promotional material is available, and material can be ordered from Catherine whenever it is needed.
Every year, LIAC presents a LIAC Centre of Excellence Award to a library in recognition of innovative and creative achievement in promoting the Find Legal Answers service at the local level. The successful library receives a Centre of Excellence Award trophy at the Law and Justice Foundation's Justice Awards dinner. The dinner is usually held at Parliament House in October, and is a good opportunity to promote to the legal sector the excellent legal information service provided by libraries. Recipients of the Award also have an opportunity to promote the library and the Find Legal Answers service in their local media and to council.
Further information, details of previous winners, and nomination forms are available after Law Week each year. Nominations close in August.
Support from LIAC
LIAC staff support public libraries providing the Find Legal Answers service to their communities in the following ways:
- Communicating regularly via the email list, advising of important dates, updates to the collections, training, and changes to the service
- Sending the Find Legal Answers e-news, a twice yearly summary of the Find Legal Answers service in public libraries
- Updating the Tool Kit, Law Books for Libraries, and free pamphlet collections twice a year, and sending instructions about which resources to obtain or discard
- Providing two copies of the Tool Kit to every central library free of charge
- Providing advice about libraries’ general legal collection
- Providing Find Legal Answers training to public library staff
- Providing all training notes, updated once or twice a year, and available from LIAC on request
- Providing all promotional material
- Providing promotional material for Law Week events
- Providing information to help plan Law Week events
- Running an annual Forum, in order to obtain feedback from libraries and communicate new developments
- Assisting with legal enquiries when required – libraries can contact LIAC if they have an enquiry from a client and need some assistance
- Answering any questions about the service, no matter how large or small.