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Library initiative helps serve needs of self-represented litigants

Madison, Wisconsin - April 12, 2010

On April 13, the Wisconsin Court System and the South Central and Winnefox Library Systems will co-sponsor a special training session in Westfield 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 Sixth Judicial Administrative District and the State Law Library.

Presenters at the program, which begins at 8:45 a.m. at the Ethel Everhard Memorial Library, 117 East Third Street, include:

  • Judge Richard O. Wright, Marquette County Circuit Court
  • Ron Ledford, District Court Administrator, Sixth Judicial District
  • Bernadette Flatoff, Clerk of Circuit Court, Portage County
  • Terry Warner, Register In Probate, Adams County
  • Jamie Kiener, Portage County Justice Works
  • Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian, Wisconsin State Law Library, Madison
  • Ann Zimmerman, State Pro Se Coordinator, Wisconsin Supreme Court

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 will make follow-up visits to the libraries to foster personal working relationships and to provide further information related to available circuit court resources.

Launched in April 2007 in the Tenth Judicial District, the Public Library Initiative has been replicated in seven of the state’s ten judicial districts in the state and was written up as a model in a national library publication.

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

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