What Can Librarians Do to Facilitate Access to Justice?

People who have legal needs, but not the resources to meet those needs may view libraries and librarians as sources of legal information.  This session is designed to show librarians ways that they may assist in the provision of legal information and avoid giving legal advice.

The session will include a discussion of the justice gap and how the justice gap affects the work of librarians.  In addition, we will explore law, ethics, and library policies relevant to the work of librarians.  Generally, patrons who are not affiliated with a law school do not have access to the law school’s subscription databases and in those cases librarians have directed patrons to print resources available in the general reference collection of the library.  However, myriad open access resources useful to public patrons are available online and we will examine these resources. 

The session is designed for all librarians who assist members of the general public in finding information, whether just starting out in the profession or having years of experience.

Attendees of this session will be able to:

1.    Distinguish between legal information and legal advice.

2.    Identify ways to provide legal information.

3.    Identify steps to protect patrons’ privacy at the reference desk.

Presentation slides for this session are available on slides.com.  Resources and discussion questions for this session are available on Dropbox.

Session Track


Experience level


Session Time Slot(s)

06/06/2019 - 11:00 to 06/06/2019 - 12:00