Strategic Partnership

The Mellon Library Initiative White Paper

There are more than 16,000 public libraries in the United States, which offer free public access to computers, the internet, and to trained staff equipped to help library patrons access information. Therefore, libraries have untapped potential to help low-income individuals who need assistance with civil legal problems. With the proper training and support, librarians could provide information to a significant number of Americans who quality for LSC-funded legal aid but are turned away due to a lack of resources.

In 2016, the “Library Initiative White Paper” was released as part of a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the feasibility of online civil legal training for public librarians. The purpose of the report was to provide background information to an Advisory Committee convened by LSC to identify gaps in currently available training materials, explore the best methodologies and partners for developing an online curriculum to train librarians on civil legal topics, and advise LSC on a technology plan.

In particular, the report covers:

  • The mission of LSC
  • An overview of the justice gap in the United States
  • A description of the Mellon grant that LSC received to partner with public libraries to improve access to justice
  • Research results of existing online public librarian training focusing on civil legal topics
  • Research results of existing online self-help resources on civil legal topics
  • Preparation questions on topics related to the Advisory Committee meeting

To read the full report, click here.