Law Week in public libraries 2016

Congratulations to NSW public libraries for a fantastic Law Week 2016! There were over 100 events held in NSW public libraries this year, reaching thousands of people in the community. It’s great to see Law Week events are as popular as ever in libraries and in the community.

 Small library van with books on display

Manly Library's mobile library van at Manly Ocean Beachfront 

Law Week is a nationwide initiative to promote community awareness and understanding of the law, the legal system and the legal profession. It's a wonderful opportunity for libraries to let their communities know about the wealth of legal information available to them, and to promote the Find Legal Answers service and resources. 

Many libraries chose to highlight the legal collections with a display. Simply by moving the collection from its usual spot to a more prominent place in the library is a great way of drawing attention to the resources. Many libraries utilised their glass display cases to create attractive displays.

Libraries worked with local solicitors, presenting talks on legal subjects of interest to the community. Subjects addressed include wills and planning ahead, family law, neighbours and the law, tenancy, strata living, running a small business, scam awareness, shopping rights, and purchasing property.  Many of these talks were in community languages.

Three libraries partnered with their local community legal centre to organise legal talks. Campbelltown Library worked with the Macarthur Legal Centre to present a talk at their Glenquarie library branch on how to get legal help if you can't afford a lawyer. This was one of a series of ten talks on various subjects being held in partnership with the library and Macarthur Legal Centre throughout the year. Hawkesbury Library partnered with the Hawkesbury Nepean Community Legal Centre to present a talk on planning for ageing. Shoalhaven Library worked with the Shoalcoast Community Legal Service to present a talk on planning ahead. The event was so successful that the library and CLC are planning to combine for another event later in the year.

And a number of libraries partnered with Legal Aid NSW to present a talk on family life and the law and/or a Law Week checkup. 

Here are some more of the wonderful events held this year:

Kempsey Library had a display which included the Law Week showbags, the Tool Kit books and Legal Aid pamphlets and booklets. They also featured one Tool Kit title per day on their circulation desk – a really simple but very effective idea! They also hosted a talk by a local solicitor and elder law expert who spoke on estate planning, with a special focus on blended families and second marriages. 

Manly Library took their mobile library van out for three mornings during Law Week, visiting the Manly Ocean Beachfront, Manly Farmers Market and Manly Wharf. The trips were very successful in promoting Law Week, legal resources and the library services. Feedback was positive and people were generally interested and glad that they could come to the library or visit the website for free legal information.

The Lennox Head branch of Richmond-Tweed Regional Library had the JP service available every morning during Law Week. A great idea – library clients appreciated the service, and it highlighted the fact that the JP service is also available throughout the year at the branch.

Richmond-Upper Clarence Regional Library had the wonderful opportunity to reach a wide audience at the Saturday Beef Week Parade. The Library had a stall where they gave away showbags, books, pamphlets and information. A great opportunity to raise the profile of the Find Legal Answers service and the library to the 10,000 people who attended, reaching those from rural areas as well as customers from neighbouring councils/libraries. 

Singleton Library celebrated Law Week with the eighth consecutive performance of The Law Week Play. Students from a local high school partnered once again with the Library, with generous donations of time given to the Library by the local police, Local Court Registrar, and a local solicitor. The play was written, produced and directed by year 11 drama students. This year’s play focused on underage drinking, secondary supply, drink spiking, and filming without permission.

Sutherland Library hosted a Find Legal Answers stall at a free breakfast held at the neighbourhood community centre, with a Legal Aid NSW solicitor available for appointment at the centre at the same time. The stall was successful in raising awareness of the Find Legal Answers service at the library to the community and to the other agencies who attended the breakfast. 

Tamworth Library partnered with Multicultural Tamworth to target their Law Week promotion toward the multicultural community, with four guest panellists from Tamworth Police, Legal Aid, Fair Trading and a local real estate office. Each panellist discussed the rights and responsibilities of the multicultural community in regards to the topics of employment, driving laws (drink driving and driving without a licence), buying a car, car insurance, and tenancy rights. The panel discussion also included a Q and A session. Tamworth Library also used this opportunity to promote the Find Legal Answers Toolkit particularly the books dealing with the above issues. 

Wollongong Library had a Stall in the Mall, an information stall in the weekly farmers market held in the Wollongong CBD. Library staff had plenty of interaction with people in the mall, handing out lots of flyers, and talking to about 50 people. They found legal information on the Find Legal Answers website for people, and referred others to appropriate legal services. The library found this to be a successful promotional event. The library display was attractive, interesting and informative, generating interest from library visitors.