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East Multnomah County Justice Center and Public Law Libraries

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I work for and in Washington County and live in Multnomah County (as do many of my fellow Trimet 3+ hour-a-day commuters) and this good news made me think again about the need for “satellite” law libraries. I’m not talking about anything extravagant, though in this world of expensive remote access legal databases, database license costs could give bricks & mortar a run for its Buck$. But I, and fellow county law librarians, think a lot about how to get basic legal research materials (and legal research expertise) to those who can’t make it to our “county seat” public law libraries. My plan is simple, but it’s the execution that’s tricky. For the East County Justice Center or a centralized public library (in Washington County, I think Beaverton maybe?), it needs a little shelving for Oregon primary and a few secondary materials, maybe a room for lawyers to meet with clients or pro se litigants to meet with a volunteer lawyer, a computer for online research (a couple of subscription databases and the web), wireless service, and a reference desk staffed (or in phone contact – Skype or its ilk come to mind too) with someone who can assist pro se litigants and attorneys with legal research questions.

I can dream. But I’m also working on a Plan.

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