The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission is among a group of co-sponsors of a report recently released by Zorza & Associates on the evolving role that law libraries play in improving access to the legal system for unrepresented individuals. The report, issued in late April, urges law libraries to consider broadening their missions to more proactively address the reality of the growing number of unrepresented persons who go to law libraries seeking information and assistance. The report identifies best practices already being employed by law libraries that have begun to embrace this role.
“Law libraries are a huge untapped resource with massive potential to increase access to legal information and assistance for people without lawyers,” said Richard Zorza, who researched and authored the report. “Because they have a long tradition of providing reference information to patrons, those law libraries that adapt to play a more significant role in access to justice efforts will find themselves at the core of a vibrant and critical system. Those that fail to rise to the challenge may find themselves doomed to irrelevance by changes in technology, constituencies, funding pressures and the law and its institutions.”