By:

Chi Hyon Song, Law Library Intern, Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, Annapolis, Maryland

Joan Bellistri, Director, Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, Annapolis, Maryland

Sara Galligan, Director, Ramsey County Law Library, St. Paul, Minnesota


As providers of neutral spaces and income-blind services, law libraries play a unique role in providing essential services to self-represented litigants. Through collaborations with the courts and other organizations, law libraries can expand services to promote access to justice


Unique Role and Potential of Law Libraries in State Courts :

The growing population of self-represented litigants has been a continuing trend in state courts for the past two decades.This population has diversified to include middle-income individuals and non-English speakers. Due to the recent economic downturn and the resulting budget cuts for the courts,as well as for legal aid and other service organizations, the stress placed on the courts to provide self-represented litigants with access to justice has increased. Although the definition of “access to justice” is open to interpretation, it includes providing self-represented litigants with access to the courts,readily available legal information, navigable legal information,and legal services.