lawlibrary Libraries

ALA Banned Books Week September 18 – 24, 2022

According to a press release of the American Library Association in April of this year:

Library staff in every state faced an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.

“The 729 challenges tracked by ALA represent the highest number of attempted book bans since we began compiling these lists 20 years ago,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong. “We support individual parents’ choices concerning their child’s reading and believe that parents should not have those choices dictated by others. Young people need to have access to a variety of books from which they can learn about different perspectives. So, despite this organized effort to ban books, libraries remain ready to do what we always have: make knowledge and ideas available so people are free to choose what to read.”

lawlibrary Libraries Maryland Law

Law on the Frontlines: Legal Reference for Public Libraries

This training begins on March 1, 2022. Sessions will cover the basics and then concentrate on subject specific issues. You can register for all sessions or pick the ones you want. Register here.

lawlibrary Libraries

Conference of Maryland Court Law Library Directors -CMCLLD FY21 Annual Report

The Conference of Maryland Court Law Library directors has issued its Annual Report for FY2021. The report describes how the Conference provides access to legal information, offers expert
assistance with using legal materials, operates educational programs and advocates and innovates new solutions for connecting the public to legal information and self-help resources.

lawlibrary Libraries Pro Bono Self Represented

Lawyer in the Library: Wrap-Up for December 2021

Steve Migdal, Jack Paltell and Leonard Englander were the Lawyers in the Library for December. They assisted 11 people with issues such as unemployment, breach of contract, wills and estates, deed change, neighbor issues and personal injury. The program is not held the last two weeks in December so the Lawyer in the Library is done for 2021.

The law library provides information to those that sign-up to speak to the attorney so that are better prepared for their session. Examples of FAQs that can be sent include the Wills and Estates FAQ and the Deeds FAQ. The People’s Law Library of Maryland is another good source of information for those seeking help with a legal problem. This month we sent links to Unemployment Benefits – Appealing a Denial, Problems with Neighbors FAQ and Solving Disputes with Neighbors. This information sent is also shared with the attorney so that they are aware of resources and referrals.

The Lawyer in the Library will return on January 5, 2022. “Ask a
Lawyer in the Library
” is held every Wednesday of the month from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and on the third Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (except for the last two weeks in December). You can talk with a volunteer
lawyer for at least 20 minutes about your civil, non-family legal problem for free. All sessions are now conducted over Zoom or by phone.

This program is sponsored by Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee,Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, and the Anne Arundel Bar Association. It is hosted by the Anne Arundel County Public Library.

Register online here orcall the law library for help. Once you have registered, you will be sent a link to an intake sheet. Instructions for meeting with the attorney will be sent once the intake is competed. 

Contact the library if you have questions: (phone) 410-222-1387 or

lawlibrary Libraries Pro Bono

Celebrate Pro Bono: Anne Arundel Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Award 2021

The Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee celebrated Pro Bono on October 13, 2021 with a virtual recognition event. In the past recognition events included an annual luncheon and the Inn of Court and Bar’s Joint dinner. This year the luncheon was virtual but still members of the Committee, bar and bench gathered on Zoom to see Steven R. Migdal receive the award from AABA President John Doud.

The AABA President’s Pro Bono Award recognizes an outstanding attorney who contributes to the community by providing pro bono service.  John Doud presented the award to Steve Migdal saying that without Steve Migdal, the Lawyer in the Library program may have ceased to exist. Steve signed up for more hours than anyone and was still always ready to step in at the last minute to fill in when an attorney was needed. Steve provided 28.75 hours of service – 40% of all program hours in FY21 and helped 61 people or half of all assisted by the program. You could almost say that the remote program has become the Steve Migdal in the Library Program. With so many facing new legal problems in a very difficult time, the availability of an attorney to provide legal advice was much appreciated by all.

Steve accepted the award and said that he certainly did not volunteer for the award as he did not even know about it but for the same reasons that he became an attorney. He wanted something challenging and he wanted to help people and he enjoys it. Steve said that during this time of COVID, volunteering for the Lawyer in the Library Program let me connect with people in a meaningful way. Whether providing legal advice, practical advice or just a sympathetic ear to someone who is overwhelmed, the real reward is the joy of social responsibility using my abilities to serve the community.

See the video here.

The Lawyer in the Library Program is a limited legal advice program held weekly every Wednesday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm and monthly on the third Wednesday from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.  The program is a joint effort of the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, the Anne Arundel County Public Library, and the Anne Arundel Pro Bono Committee.  The program is sponsored by the Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

lawlibrary Libraries

National Library Week April 19 – 25, 2020

National Library Week begins today. The original theme was “Find Your Place at the Law Library.” With so much change in how libraries of all types are operating, an alternate theme was devised.

Maryland Court Law Libraries will be unable to provide in-person assistance until June and as a result are trying to make sure that previous in-person users are aware that law libraries can be accessed remotely.

Maryland public libraries, like the Anne Arundel County Public Library, are offering online programming and access. The Anne Arundel County Public Library provides access to their digital library, resources for learning and an “ask a question” link.

Please take time to visit your local public library and law library in Anne Arundel County to celebrate National Library Week. I know that we will be happy to “see” you online and look forward to seeing you in person in the future.

lawlibrary Libraries

Library of Congress Posts Coronavirus Resource Guide

“This is intended as a guide to laws, regulations and executive actions in the United States, at both the federal and the state level, and in various countries with respect to the new coronavirus and its spread. We are also including links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that provide information to Congress about the novel coronavirus. In addition, we provide links to relevant federal agency websites. We intend to update this guide on at least a weekly basis for the immediate future.”

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.

lawlibrary Legal Technology Libraries Maryland Law Self Represented

New Look for People’s Law Library of Maryland

Peoples The People’s Law Library of Maryland has a new look.  We were accustomed  to the look and feel of this important website since we use it many times everyday and so were a bit surprised to see the new design with Maryland colors pop-up on the screen.

People’s still provides the links we refer to everyday – the legal directory, the legal clinics listing, and, of course, all of the legal information on topics important to Maryland citizens.

The front page provides a link to the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center as well as the phone number where live assistance is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. (I appreciate the live chat button on every information page as it makes for easy referrals – to  information and live assistance in one convenient place.)

The People’s Law Library of Maryland is an important tool that we use all of the time.  It makes assisting those that call in or email with questions so much easier as long as they have a computer or smart phone.  People’s articles can be a part of almost every reference response for non-attorney questions.  We are fortunate to have such a great resource in Maryland.

lawlibrary Libraries Pro Bono Self Represented

Celebrating National Library Week: The 21st Century Library

Why libraries? Why law libraries?

The age of Google and smartphones may seem to put all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, but the reality is that we still need trained professionals to curate all that information, contextualize it and point us toward new sources an algorithm might miss. There is a serendipity in browsing the stacks of a library that the Internet has yet to replicate.

This from a Baltimore Sun editorial published last October that I clipped and saved : The 21st-century library .  It included a description of how libraries “are an indispensable font of information and support that enables them to meet life’s everyday challenges” and that “it’s not a stretch for them to see their mandates broadly and to seek to help those who come through their doors however they can.

This editorial was in reference to how the Pratt Library in Baltimore City would be making social workers available at neighborhood libraries.  I couldn’t help but compare the program to our Ask a Lawyer in the Library program offered in the courthouse and public library branches.

Law libraries long thought to be the province of lawyers and judges are now also the spot where anyone in need of legal information or referrals can find what they need to assist in solving legal issues.  As a result, public law libraries must find ways to meet the needs of these varied user groups. We are meeting those needs, through existing traditional resources still needed for lawyers and the court; and those resources created for the non-attorney.  We are lucky to have the Maryland People’s Law Library available.  We have also created FAQ pages available on the library’s Pro Bono and Self-Help Wiki. Librarians provide assistance to the non-attorney, too, by explaining legal research and the traditional sources of law. The law library has increased its digital resources and as a result, provides online assistance to attorneys and non-attorneys alike. The court law library is ever-changing as it adapts to changes in legal information and the users of that information, making it relevant as a 21st century library. The AACPLL is a 21st Century Library: