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Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014

Tennessee librarians partner to expand access to legal resources

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

(Photo)
Dianne Mallard of McIver's Grant Public Library joined public librarians from the nine northwest Tennessee counties for a workshop at the Tennessee State Library and Archives Obion River Regional Library Center at Martin. At the workshop, Mallard and other public librarians learned more about reliable legal resources available to Tennesseans via the Internet. The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services has trained librarians throughout the state of Tennessee with an initiative called, LIFT or Legal Information for Tennesseans. Pictured at the training, from left, front row, Anne Fox of Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, Pam Wright of West Tennessee Legal Services, Linda Wyatt of Benton County Public Library, Connie McSwain of W.G. Rhea Public Library/Paris; second row, Frances Dial of Ridgely Public Library, Mary Carpenter of Obion River Regional Library, Barbara Dunlap of C.E. Weldon Public Library/Martin, Terri Wilson of Carroll County Public Library, Roberta Peacock of C.E. Weldon Public Library/Martin, Michele Barnes of Obion County Public Library, Diane Mallard of McIver's Grant Public Library/Dyersburg, Christi McClain of Mildred G. Fields Memorial Library/Milan, Jessica Milligan of Benton County Public Library, Linda Rice of Crockett County Public Library, Janice Peevyhouse of Newbern City Library, Kathy Collins of W.G. Rhea Public Library/Paris, Freda Reddick of W.G. Rhea Public Library/Paris, Reba Hudson of Obion County Public Library. For more information, visit www.legalinfotn.org.
Public librarians from the nine northwest Tennessee counties recently met for a workshop at the Tennessee State Library and Archives Obion River Regional Library Center at Martin to learn more about reliable legal resources available to Tennesseans via the Internet.

McIver's Grant Public Library assistant Dianne Mallard was among them.

"LIFT is a terrific new (free!) resource for our community," said McIver's Grant Public Library Director Dara Gonzales. "All citizens have the right to accessible legal information and assistance."

The Tennessee State Library and Archives regional libraries have partnered with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services to train librarians on the use of the new Legal Information for Tennesseans web portal.

The trainings have focused on best practices for librarians to use in delivering referral and legal information to patrons through the use of the new legal website resource.

The LIFT portal, available at http://legalinfotn.org, was developed to provide comprehensive resources on a wide variety of civil legal issues including self-representation, divorce, domestic violence and dating problems, juvenile issues, health care, money problems and veterans' issues.

The project identified libraries as major centers for free Internet use and information gathering. It also recognized the research expertise of librarians who could serve as natural partners in this initiative.

One significant factor that influenced the development of the LIFT site was the fact that a large majority of younger and rural Tennesseans access the Internet through the use of a mobile device. In response, LIFT was developed using responsive technology that allows the site to 'scale' to any device -- such as a tablet or smart phone. This feature means that users don't have to purchase an app or learn to use an app that is different from the main website.

"Our librarians attend many in-service trainings," said Obion River Regional Library Director Mary Carpenter, who appreciates the training and new collaboration. "And this training provides yet another tool which they'll be able to use to help their patrons. Going to court and dealing with a legal problem can be so intimidating and this new website is user-friendly and will help people understand how to help themselves."

The new LIFT website was developed with funding from the Legal Services Corp. and was created by the West Tennessee Legal Services and TALS.

Those interested in more information may contact Anne Fox at (615) 627-0956.



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