People’s Law Library Web Site Finds Permanent Home
With Maryland State Law Library
(Annapolis, MD — February 4, 2008) As part of assuming the management of the award winning self-help Web site, the Maryland People’s Law Library, www.peoples-law.info, the Maryland State Law Library plans to update and expand the site to provide additional educational and legal resources to the public.
“This is an excellent site that provides free legal information for Maryland’s citizens, including information for people who represent themselves in court,” said Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
“Through this partnership, information on state and federal law affecting all Marylanders and their families will now be housed online with the wealth of information found with the State Law Library and its Web site, thus improving access to justice for all citizens,” Judge Bell said.
The first step in the transition has been to update the site, including providing new contact information and hypertext links, said Steve Anderson, director of the Maryland State Law Library. “We’ll begin a more comprehensive review of what changes and updates to make as we move forward in the coming months.” The State Law Library has hired a full-time content coordinator to manage and update the Web site.
In the future, the Law Library plans to revise the site to integrate it more closely with information already available on other Judiciary Web sites. The library also hopes to improve navigation and add additional legal topics.
“The People’s Law Library is a public resource designed to provide access to law-related information to Marylanders,” Anderson said. “The Web site helps to explain the law in ‘user-friendly,’ easy-to-understand terms, and we are very happy to help continue such a important service. The State Law Library already provides legal information assistance to the general public via e-mail and phone, so this is a logical extension of our services.”
In 2007, the State Law Library answered almost 3,000 e-mail inquiries and more than 5,000 phone and in-person reference questions. During the same time period, the library welcomed more than 9,500 visitors at its location in the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building in Annapolis, and its Web site received approximately 235,000 visits.
The State Law Library intends to continue partnerships with stakeholder public interest law practices that have contributed information content in the past. The Library will form an advisory committee to provide direction for the Web site’s content.
“We’re hoping to recruit from these experienced organizations. These are partners who have helped in the past and can provide expertise to help steer the People’s Law Library site as it moves forward,” Anderson said.
Wilhelm Joseph, executive director of Maryland Legal Aid, the state’s largest provider of free legal help to the poor, applauded the court’s move to manage the People’s Law Library. “We are delighted with this new partnership, which will enhance management of the Web site and benefit the public it serves for years to come,” he said. Maryland Legal Aid was a major partner in the development and maintenance of the People’s Law Library.
The People’s Law Library was launched in 1996 and has been supported by Maryland's non-profit legal services providers. Several legal aid programs, public interest attorneys, community advocacy groups, and the Maryland Legal Assistance Network (MLAN) developed sections for the Web site.
For more information, contact the Court Information Office at (410) 260-1488.