I am the AALL Representative to the Self Represented Litigation Network or the SRLN. Over the last year I have been working with other members of the SRLN Law Librarians’ Working Group, analyzing the results of the “Survey of Law Library Programs for Self Represented Litigants, including Self-Help Centers.” The survey task force, also members of AALL State, Court and County Law Library Special Interest Section, included Marnie Warner, Sara Galligan, and Charley Dyer.
Today I reported on the survey at the SRLN pre-conference workshop at the Equal Justice Conference in Portland.
Jessican Van Buren, chair of the SRLN Law Librarians’ Working Group, has posted the report, survey results and other supporting documents at SelfHelpSupport: http://www.selfhelpsupport.org/surveys/ .
The survey shows how law libraries of all types serve the needs of the self-represented litigants. Law Libraries serve the SRL by providing the more traditional law library services of research assistance, use of online databases and referrals. They also provide services designed especially for the SRL such as websites, publications and forms. Law libraries also work with self-help centers but the results show that law libraries can also provide the self-help center in the library or house a self-help center managed by another organization.
The report can act as guide for those seeking to develop programs for service to the SRL. We hope that the information will be of value to not only the law library community but to the courts, the bar, legal services providers, public libraries and access to justice organizations involved in service to the self-represented litigant.