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Public Library Initiative to help serve the legal needs of self-represented litigants

Waukesha, Wisconsin - March 4, 2008

On March 6, the Wisconsin Court System and the Waukesha County Library System will co-sponsor a special training session 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 is the Third Judicial District, which consists of four southeastern Wisconsin counties, and the State Law Library, located in Madison.  The Waukesha County Library System has generously agreed to co-sponsor and host the program, which is aimed at informing public library staff about the various court-related services and information currently available to assist self-represented litigants.  Featured speakers include:

  • Hon. J. Mac Davis, District Three Chief Judge;
  • Michael Neimon, Third Judicial District Court Administrator;
  • Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian;
  • Carolyn Evenson, Waukesha County Clerk of Circuit Court;
  • Sally Lunde, Waukesha County Register in Probate; and
  • Tera Nehring, Waukesha County Family Self-Help Center Coordinator.

In addition to the March 6th presentation, the project has a second component in which Waukesha County court staff will be meeting personally with Waukesha county public librarians to foster personal working relationships and to provide further information related to available circuit court resources. A second presentation covering Dodge, Jefferson, Washington, and Ozaukee county librarians will be held on April 8 in Horicon, and is being jointly sponsored by the Mid-Wisconsin Federated and Eastern Shores Library Systems.

This project is the latest in a series of steps the court system has taken to improve access to the courts for people who are representing themselves, and it is being replicated around the state in order to reach as many public librarians as possible.  The program was launched in April 2007 in the Tenth Judicial District, which encompasses 14 counties. 

"The Wisconsin court system is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Waukesha County Library System to further our common interest in helping people access current and reliable legal information. Improving access to the courts for all Wisconsin citizens has the beneficial effect of improving public trust and confidence in our court system," said District Three Chief Judge J. Mac Davis.

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

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