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Library Initiative helps serve needs of self-represented litigants

Madison, Wisconsin - October 26, 2009

On Oct. 29, the Wisconsin Court System and the Winding Rivers and Southwest Library Systems will co-sponsor a special training session in Viroqua for librarians who assist people who represent themselves in court. The project's goal is to foster communication between local courts and public libraries in an effort to better meet the legal service needs of self-represented litigants.

Leading the initiative in cooperation with the library systems is the Seventh Judicial Administrative District and the State Law Library. The goal of the program is to inform public library staff about the various court-related services and information currently available to assist self-represented litigants.

Presenters at the program, which begins at 8:45 a.m. at the Western Technical Collage Campus, 220 Main St., Room 115, include:

  • Seventh District Chief Judge William D. Dyke, Iowa County Circuit Court
  • Patrick Brummond Court Administrator, Seventh Judicial District
  • Kathleen Buros, Clerk of Circuit Court, Vernon County
  • Jody Bartels, Register In Probate, Grant County
  • Beverly Burns, Richland County Self-Help Center
  • Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian, Wisconsin State Law Library, Madison
  • Ann Zimmerman, State Pro Se Coordinator

Colwin will provide an overview of Wisconsin's legal framework, focusing on how to find and use reliable Internet Web sites on Wisconsin legal materials, such as statutes, administrative codes, case law, journal articles, forms, etc. There will also be a discussion of the problems and pitfalls of assisting users with legal questions, and will demonstrate Web sites and other materials designed to help users help themselves.

In addition to these group presentations, the project has a second component in which court staff make follow-up visits to the libraries to foster personal working relationships and to provide further information related to available circuit court resources.

Ann Zimmerman
State Pro Se Coordinator
(608) 261-8297

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