Congratulations to you all for a fantastic Law Week 2015! This year, I counted 110 events in NSW public libraries, reaching over 2100 people in the community.
Law Week in libraries
Displays and legal talks were popular this year. Many libraries organised talks on legal subjects of interest to the community, with local solicitors from the Law Society’s Speakers Bureau as guest speakers. A wide range of topics were chosen, including:
- wills and planning ahead
- buying and selling real estate
- small business law
- strata living
- neighbours and the law
- retirement village living
- older people and the law
- domestic violence
- traffic offences
- immigration law
- environmental law
Many of these talks were given in community languages. Presentations aimed at students were also popular.
Five libraries received Law Week grants of up to $1 000, to help with the costs of presenting and advertising events.
Albury’s Crime Scene at the LibraryMuseum was successful for the second year in a row, with 150 people attending to help solve a grisly murder! Participants stepped into the shoes of a crime scene investigator to collect and process evidence from a murder and help solve the mystery. Described as a fabulous family evening of entertainment, mystery and mayhem, the scene is set - you are on the maiden journey of the Spirit of Progress but soon discover a dark secret! Step back in time to the 1940’s for this entertaining murder mystery evening, where you can help investigate and solve the crime over a delicious dinner.
Tamworth Library also celebrated Law Week with a law themed murder mystery party. Participants were assigned characters to play throughout the evening and were given clues to investigate and bring the murderer and thief to justice. Participants were also encouraged to dress as their assigned characters.
Auburn Library participated in a Law Week Expo, organised by the NSW Department of Justice in co-operation with the Auburn Council Community Development Team and the Library. The Expo included a series of workshop sessions on the law and sources of information and advice, with services such as Fair Trading NSW, the NSW Ombudsman, and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service also taking part. Interpreters speaking Dari, Hazaragi, Arabic, Farsi and Mandarin facilitated most of the workshops. It was a very successful and popular event attracting over 400 participants.
Gunnedah Library distributed 200 Law Week bags via many of their services including their housebound services, pensioner’s club, and the Aboriginal Liaison Officer. The NSW Police Department Youth Liaison Officer in Tamworth also sent 100 cardboard cars to be assembled, five different colouring in templates, stickers, wrist bands, and temporary tattoos ‘Cops are Tops’ to be used during Toddler Time and preschool visits during Law Week. The Library also sent information about Find Legal Answers for inclusion in 1 000 crime prevention kits sent out by Council’s Community Development section.
Monaro Regional Libraries held a Cyberbullying in relationships roundtable discussion at Cooma Library, and also produced a short video of the event.
Port Stephens – Tomaree Library and Community Centre held a talk on Domestic violence: what can we do? The talks by the two guest speakers were powerful, confronting but positive, and a robust discussion followed.
Singleton Library celebrated Law Week with the seventh consecutive performance of a Law Week play. Students from a local high school partnered once again with the library, with generous donations of time by the local police, Local Court Registrar, and a local solicitor. The play was written, produced and directed by year 11 drama students. Titled Say No to Nude, it portrayed a lovesick schoolgirl who sent a nude photo of herself to her boyfriend on her phone – the boyfriend however placed no value on this ‘gift’ and sent the photo on to his mates. Finally the 'class spiteful' received a copy and thought it would be fun to send it to the whole class and then sit back to watch the drama unfold. The message is a powerful reminder to everyone that a photo on the internet is there forever, and that sending and receiving nude photos over the internet is classified as pornography – even worse for under age victims - and gaol sentences can be the end result for those who break these laws.
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.
Wollongong Library had a Stall in the Mall, an information stall in the weekly farmers market held in the Wollongong CBD.
Law Week on social media
This year for the first time we ran a social media campaign for Law Week, with a week of scheduled tweets and posts. Libraries let us know what events they were planning and we promoted them using Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Libraries were encouraged to use the hashtags #nswpubliclibraries and #LawWeek so we could follow the conversations. The campaign proved very successful, particularly on Twitter which had a dramatic increase in audience reach.
Quotes from libraries
Attendees were very interested in the topic, the speaker was well informed and passionate on the topic – answered all questions, and we would definitely book again
Our Law Week talk was met with great enthusiasm. The Tool Kit was on display and all clients were suitably impressed with the collection. A number of people were seen perusing the collection afterwards and borrowing a number of legal items. All in all, a successful week.
A stall created a really good opportunity for service providers and local communities to get to know each other
The show bags have been popular with library borrowers across all the branches. We obtained some additional material from Legal Aid NSW and were able to specifically target user groups by using specific materials in the bags, such as for older persons, families, and finance.
Thanks to all of you who provided feedback and photos. You can check out the photos on the Law Week Pinterest board.