Hello everyone! You may be aware of Pro Bono Net’s webinar series on Libraries and Access to Justice; hopefully, many of you are attending those sessions. I wanted to bring attention today to a particular way in which libraries (and legal aid groups, too!) can participate in the access to justice movement: multimedia resources!
I recently came across the Sacramento County Public Law Library’s website and was really impressed by their Online Resources page, and in particular the Multimedia Resources section. On the Online Resources page they not only have forms with step-by-step instructions for evaluating your eligibility and filling them out, they have links to their online catalog and research services, a blog, a mobile site, and links to self-help videos and audios.
Continuing to the Multimedia Resources page (via the link on the left), one finds podcasts, screencasts, another link to the self-help video and audios, and class videos. All of these except for the class videos are available for free (class videos are for Minimum Continuing Legal Education, or MCLE credit and cost about $20 each). The free resources are download-able, subscribe-able (as in the case of podcasts), or available for immediate watching/listening. They cover topics ranging from who gets the engagement ring in a breakup, to how to seal your criminal record, to how to serve court papers by mail. I’d encourage you to check out their website; there are a lot of other resources that I haven’t mentioned.
In addition to posting content to your website, I’d encourage libraries (particularly those at law schools) to consider posting to an outside vendor such as iTunes U. This is the path that the Library of Congress has followed with its Law and the Library series, which is available for free downloads and subscriptions through the ubiquitous iTunes software (also free). As a note, the app is geared toward educational institutions and I’m not sure what the hurdles might be for a non-educational institution to post here.
These and other creative, high-quality online resources make a great addition to any self-help library. Even better, they don’t have to be difficult to put together. Just put links to your existing YouTube channel and SlideShare account in one place, and you’re already on your way! Posting in a variety of formats (podcasts, videos, articles) and in accessible file formats (no obscure or PC-only formats, please!) can help insure that these information-rich resources reach your community effectively.
Happy Friday everyone!