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Public Library Initiative to help meet needs of self-represented litigants

Madison, Wisconsin - April 1, 2008

On April 8, the Wisconsin Court System and the Mid-Wisconsin Federated and Eastern Shores Library Systems will co-sponsor a special training session for librarians who assist people who represent themselves in court in Dodge, Jefferson, Washington and Ozaukee counties.

The workshop will start at 9 a.m. at the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System Office, 112 Clinton St., Horicon. 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 Wisconsin State Law Library located in Madison.

Featured speakers include:

  • Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian;
  • Hon. Andrew Gonring, Judge, Washington County;
  • Lynn Hron, Dodge County Clerk of Circuit Court;
  • Comm. Darcy McManus, Court Commissioner, Ozaukee County;
  • Kay Morlen, Washington County Register in Probate;
  • Michael Neimon, Third Judicial District Court Administrator;
  • and Atty. Ann Zimmerman, Statewide Pro Se Coordinator.

In addition to presentations by each speaker, the project has a component in which Third District Registers in Probate and Clerks of Circuit Court will make follow-up visits to each public library to foster personal working relationships and to provide information on additional circuit court resources.

The library initiative 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. It is hoped that the program, launched a year ago in the Tenth Judicial District, can be replicated around the state. The Tenth District encompasses 14 counties in northwest Wisconsin.

“The Wisconsin Court System and public libraries have a strong, mutual interest in helping citizens access current and reliable legal information. It has been our goal to improve access to the courts for citizens who choose, for whatever reason, to come to court without the assistance of an attorney. Doing so improves public trust and confidence in the legal system,” said Statewide Pro Se Coordinator Ann Zimmerman.

Ann Zimmerman
State Pro Se Coordinator
608) 261-8297

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