lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

AACPLL Self-Help Services: Lawyer in the Library

Ask A Lawyer in The Library is a Civil Non-Family Law Self-Help Program held in the law library every Wednesday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Sign up at 10:45 a.m. for lottery to determine time slots.) Participants can talk with a volunteer lawyer for up to 20 minutes about civil, non-family legal problem for free! No appointment is necessary. Just check-in at the law library’s information desk.

This program is also held off-site twice a month in the evening: at the Glen Burnie Regional Library on the the third Wednesday of the month and at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday of the month. The start time for these programs is 4:30 p.m. with sign up at 4:15 p.m. for lottery to determine time slots.

Please call to confirm dates as library availability for the program is affected by elections and holidays: 410-222-1387.

Issues that may be addressed include:

  • Debt and bankruptcy
  • Landlord/Tenant questions
  • Real estate
  • Employment and wage claim issues
  • Contracts, warranties and/or consumer disputes
  • Wills, estate planning, probate, living wills

Preparation for your session:

  • Write a list of specific questions for the attorney.
  • Bring any paperwork and information related to the case.
  • Organize any paperwork from most recent on the top to oldest at the bottom.
  • Identify all deadlines.
  • Prepare a timeline of the legal issue.

The attorney you meet with may not have expertise in the area of law you need. They will make every effort, through the resources in the library, to answer your questions correctly.

Family law issues are best addressed by the Family Law Self Help Center

The Lawyer in the Law Library Program is a limited legal advice service and should not be considered a substitute for representation. If you need an attorney to represent you contact the Anne Arundel Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service or call 410-222-6859. 

Sponsored by
The Anne Arundel Local Pro Bono Committee
and the
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Holiday lawlibrary

Law Library will be closed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

The Law Library and the Family Law Self-Help Center in the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court are closed today, January 20, 2020, in observance of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. You can read a little about Martin Luther King, Jr. at America’s Library – the Library of Congress here.

The Law Library will reopen tomorrow, January 21, 2020.  A list of Court Holidays is available on the Circuit Court’s website at Except on Court Holidays, the Library is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

lawlibrary Self Represented

Open to the Public: How Law Libraries Are Serving Self-Represented Litigants Across the Country

Maryland Court Law Libraries serve a wide variety of customers from judges and attorneys to students and those dealing with a legal issue without an attorney. How law libraries across the country serve these self-represented litigants (SRLs) was the subject of a recent survey by the AALL GLL (Government Law Libraries SIS of the American Association of Law Libraries) and the SRLN Law Librarian’s Working Group through a research grant from LexisNexis.

For an introduction check out this video:

You can dig into the details of the survey with the Story Map. Law libraries serve the SRL through the collections, technology, reference, referrals and partnerships.

If you find the AACPLL on the map you will see that we fit within all the criteria for an intermediate law library:

  • Basic levels
  • Guides and Pathfinders
  • Law Library Website
  • Email (AskLawLibrarian)
  • Interpreter Services
  • Referral Systems/Triage
  • E-Filing
  • Limited English Language Resources
  • More Court Forms (Online forms with document assembly and guided interviews)
  • Public Librarian Partnerships (training opportunities for public librarians)
  • Partnerships with Others in the Legal Community
  • Self-Help Center in the Law Library or Lawyer in the Library Program
  • Support for External Self-Help Centers as Available

The Anne Arundel County Public Law Library would be excited to move to the advanced level, a library with a staff attorney to provide brief legal advice, but for now will continue to provide the best service that we can to all in need.


lawlibrary Libraries

40 Years! Things have changed since my first day in the law library.

When I started here in the Law Library, 40 years ago today, I was just starting the University of Maryland’s Master of Library Science program. My technology or equipment consisted of an electric typewriter, a rotary phone that didn’t even have a hold button and a copier.

I had a lot to learn. At that time, I saw mostly attorneys and law clerks using the law library as everything was in the books.

The 1980s library.

A lot has changed over the years. Now so much of the library’s collection is available online with Lexis and Westlaw. Close to 80% of the library’s reference questions come from non-attorneys. The library houses the Family Law Self-Help Center and provides a weekly “Ask a Lawyer in the Law Library” brief advice clinic for civil non-family matters.

The reference desk – 40 years later.

While much has changed in the way that we can access legal information, I can say that one constant is actually me, the law librarian able to assist with access to legal information no matter the format or who might be asking.

The “reading room” today.

Although, technically, I have been in the same position for 40 years, I have seen so much change that I can’t say that anything else is the same. I have enjoyed the challenges and opportunities that change can bring without having to leave. I am looking forward to the future and whatever it may bring.

Holiday lawlibrary

Law Library and Family Law Self-Help Center closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday

The Law Library, the Family Law Self Help Center,  and the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County is closed today November 28, 2019 and tomorrow, November 29, 2019 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The Law Library will reopen on Monday, December 2, 2019.  A list of Court Holidays is available here. Except on Court Holidays, the Library is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Read this article, Congress Establishes Thanksgiving, at the National Archives website to find out how Thanksgiving became a holiday.

lawlibrary Maryland Law

Worth a read: The Law of Impeachment – A digital exhibit from the Harris County Law Library

Wondering about the law of impeachment? Interested in the history and past impeachment proceedings? Or just want to be ready with the law for Thanksgiving table discussions?

The Harris County Law Library in Texas has put together a digital exhibit that includes a brief history, cites to the U.S. Constitution, and information on the most recent proceedings. It also includes discussion of Texas impeachment.

If interested in the Maryland law on impeachment see theMaryland Constitution Art. 2 § 7 Impeachment, Art. 3, § 26 Impeachment and Art. 4, § 4 Grounds and procedure for removal of judges.

lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

Celebrate Pro Bono: FREE Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic

FREE Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic

Saturday, October 26, 2019
10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Boys and Girls Club at Freetown Village
7820 Darrell Henry
Pasadena, MD 21122

Volunteers needed! 

 Hosted by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Rho Eta Zeta Chapter and the North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service


Please contact Ginina Stevenson @ 410-315-8051
OR Joan Bellistri: 410-222-1387 or for information.

lawlibrary Pro Bono

Celebrate Pro Bono: Food, Fun and Pro Bono

The National Celebration of Pro Bono takes place the last week of October, 10/20/2019 -10/26/2019. According to the American Bar Association (ABA):

Every October since 2009, legal organizations across America participate in the National Celebration of Pro Bono to draw attention to the need for pro bono participation, and to thank those who give their time year round.  Read more here

In Maryland, the Pro Bono Celebration tends to go for the whole month of October. In Anne Arundel County, there are a number of pro bono opportunities planned for attorneys that will result in increased access to legal information and services for the public.

Please register for Fun + Food + Pro Bono:

Virtual Advice-a-Thon Pizza Party

An attorney advice-a-thon with food and cheer! Use the Maryland Free Legal Answers website to remotely provide brief advice to low-income Marylanders.  The pizza is real.

Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Time: 5pm to 7:30pm

Location: Law Library, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, 8 Church Circle, Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Food: Pizza and …..


Article Review-A-Thon 

 The People’s Law Library of Maryland (PLL), the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, and the Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee invite you to participate in a lunchtime article review-a-thon.

PLL is a free, online legal encyclopedia of Maryland law and procedure. PLL has over 500 articles on a wide range of topics, including family law, landlord/tenant law, estates and trusts, civil procedure, and consumer law. 

Drop by during lunchtime to review an article or two. Food, drink, and library resources will be provided. The details are below.

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019

Time: 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: Law Library, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, 8 Church Circle, Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Food: Lunch will be provided.

Registration: The registration deadline is Tuesday, October 22, 2019. Drop-ins are always welcome, but we cannot guarantee that lunch will be available for drop-ins. Register @

Questions? Contact Lee Sampson at

lawlibrary Maryland Law

New Maryland Laws Take Effect October 1, 2019

New laws take effect in Maryland today.

HB0240 (CH0028) makes it a crime to threaten certain hate crimes.

SB0236 (CH0750) changes the minimum sentence that would disqualify someone from jury duty.

HB1169 (CH0396)  increased the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products including vaping products from 18 to 21.

SB0449 (CH0755) allows for same day voter registration.

The law banning bump stocks takes effect today but SB0707 (CH0252) was actually passed during the 2018 session. The law prohibits a person “a person from transporting a certain rapid fire trigger activator into the State or manufacturing, possessing, selling, offering to sell, transferring, purchasing, or receiving a certain rapid fire trigger activator, subject to a certain exception; defining “rapid fire trigger activator” as any device, including a removable manual or power-driven activating device, constructed so that, when installed in or attached to a firearm the rate at which the trigger is activated increases or the rate of fire increases…”

This is just a small sampling of the new laws enacted by the 2019 Legislative Session. The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) of the General Assembly of Maryland provides a full listing. Was there a major issue from the 2019 session that was not covered in this series? The 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2019 Session, published by DLS, includes a hyperlinked list of Major Issues from 2019.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?  DLS publishes a Popular Terms List as a reference for current legislation that is often referred to by the public and media by certain popular terms.

Do you prefer paper sources?  The Law Library’s collection includes the the advance (paperback) Laws of Maryland, arranged in chapter number order with separate volumes for a Sponsor Index, the Final Status Report, and Committee Index. In addition, the Law Library’s Maryland collection includes print copies of the current Annotated Code of Maryland. The  2019 pocket parts should be coming soon.

Don’t forget – the Law Library is here if you have questions or would like additional information. Contact us!


Worth a read: Constitution Annotated

Just in time for Constituition Day on September 17, Andrew Winston announced to AALL that the Library is launching the Constitution Annotated, a website that provides online access to a massive Senate document that has served for more than a century as the official record of the U.S. Constitution.

He referred to two blogposts for more information:

The Constitution, Annotated: The Constitution Explained in Plain English from September 16, 2019 by Neely Tucker

The Constitution Annotated Is Now Easier to Search and Browse from September 16, 2019 by Robert Brammer