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Congratulations to Gunnedah Shire Library and Sutherland Shire Library, winners of the 2015 LIAC Centre of Excellence Award.
Gunnedah Shire Library won for their successful outreach program. Their Law Week 2015 outreach to non-library members achieved great success in raising awareness of plain language legal information. The program targeted, among others, people who are unable to visit the library.
The library distributed packages of plain language legal information to housebound people, local community groups and clubs, and youth and Indigenous groups. In a unique initiative, the library distributed information to ‘shop-bound’ people – those who run small businesses which they are unable to leave to visit the library. The program succeeded in increasing knowledge and driving use of the Find Legal Answers service.
Fulfilling their commitment to providing access to legal information to all segments of the community, the library’s Toddler Time had a focus on the law, with books and activities about the role the police play in society. Gunnedah Shire Library also partnered with Gunnedah Shire Council to send packages of plain language legal information to 1,000 local residents.
Sutherland Shire Libraries won for two strategies: their very successful ongoing partnership with the Sutherland Local Court, and their Law Week initiative.
Sutherland Shire Libraries participates in the local courts / public libraries project run by Courts and Tribunal Services, Department of Justice and LIAC. This project promotes public libraries and the Find Legal Answers website as sources of legal information and encourages court staff to make referrals. Sutherland Library communicates regularly with Sutherland Local Court, sharing new legal resources, providing promotional material and arranging legal information training for court staff. Sutherland Library’s commitment to the project has seen an improvement in client service for people attending court.
In a second strategy to improve access to plain language legal information, Sutherland Library used Law Week to raise awareness of the legal resources available in the library among non-library members including people from CALD backgrounds at a local community centre.