Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice Through Libraries

By Brooke Doyle

You may have heard about Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice through Libraries, an initiative developed in partnership between OCLC’s WebJunction program and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). As part of this initiative, my WebJunction colleagues and I have met and collaborated with many wonderful law librarians as we’ve created resources to increase public library staff’s knowledge, skills, and confidence to respond to patrons’ civil legal information questions. A key result of the collaboration is a series of four self-paced courses, Creating Pathways to Civil Legal Justice. I hope you’ll share these free online courses with your public library colleagues.

Responding to the interest in these courses and the urgency of eviction and housing insecurity issues in communities, WebJunction continued the partnership with LSC to help library staff strengthen their ability to respond to eviction queries from patrons with knowledge and confidence.

We recently delivered a webinar Understanding Eviction and How Libraries Can Help. Law librarian Deb Hamilton, Pikes Peak Library District (CO), and Kristin Wong,  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, covered the current state of the crisis and how to recognize the basic phases of the eviction process, with an emphasis on preventing evictions through rental assistance. We also curated a set of Eviction Resources for Libraries. We hope you will bookmark this page and tell your public library colleagues about the webinar recording and the resource list. We will continue to update the resource list as needed.

I’d like to invite you to a December 8 session where we will be continuing the conversation about how libraries can assist in the eviction crisis. We’ll begin with short presentations showcasing partnerships between libraries and community organizations that address eviction.  We will then open the conversation up for all to share ideas or ask questions. Leaders representing law and public libraries, government agencies, and legal aid will be available to respond to the comments and questions. We hope you can join us, share your insights, and invite your public library colleagues to bring their questions.

About the author: Brooke Doyle is a Senior Project Coordinator at OCLC’s WebJunction Program. 

Eviction Information and Resources in Colorado

By Deborah Hamilton, LISP-SIS

Colorado does not have any statewide moratoria or special COVID orders pertaining to evictions at this time.  However, a wide range of new housing laws went into effect on October 1, 2021, that give tenants many more rights and protections.  The Colorado Poverty Law Project recorded an informative webinar outlining these changes that you can view on YouTube. 

I have tried to compile a number of different eviction and housing resources on a research page on the Pikes Peak Library District’s website.  I want to highlight a few resources in this post.  

Representation:  

One of the most effective ways to help patrons facing eviction is to try to connect them with legal services.  

For representation patrons can try the following: 

Colorado Legal Services (statewide)

Colorado Poverty Law Project (statewide)

Metro Volunteer Lawyers (Denver area)

COVID – 19 Eviction Defense Project (Denver counties and Lake counties)

The Justice Center (El Paso and Teller counties)

Clinics: 

Many clinics provide servicesover the phone or virtually now, so patrons from other areas may have access to them: 

Call a Lawyer by The Justice Center – Every Wednesday 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. over the phone.

Metro Lawyers has a number of different topic specific clinics listed on their website.  

The Virtual Pro Se Clinics of Colorado happen at public libraries all around the state.  Click on the triangle for the location you are interested in to learn about the format and time.  

Colorado Poverty Law Project holds a monthly clinic on the third Wednesday of month from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. over Zoom.  

Information online: 

And a number of these organizations have great resources available through their websites.  

Colorado Legal Services (CLS) has a page devoted to Housing-Related Information on their website. The Colorado Springs office of CLS also partners with the City of Colorado Springs to hold a quarterly Renter’s Rights 101 workshop.  You can access the recording and print materials for this event as well as see future dates for the workshop on the city’s website.    

The Justice Center has created an Eviction Prevention Toolkit – available in English, Spanish and Korean. They also have a couple of sample housing forms that people can use as templates. The Justice Center also has a series of short videos on a variety of landlord tenant issues.  

Colorado Poverty Law Project has a great resource list on their website.  They also host a number of events and workshops online, including know your rights presentations.  You can keep track of all they do by following their Facebook page.  

Additional resources: 

Lastly, a few more things to help patrons: access to forms, aid, and housing information.  

The Housing Cases section in the Self-Help Section of the Colorado Judicial Branch website is where patrons can access forms for both initiating and responding to an eviction.  They also have a section of forms and directions for anyone who believes they have been unlawfully evicted.  

If people are looking for rental assistance or assistance with foreclosure, they can connect with aid programs through the Department of Local Affairs.  


And finally, if patrons have questions about landlord tenant issues or housing aid and resources, Colorado Housing Connects is an easy way for them to speak with a housing counselor for free over the phone.  They also have a lot of great information on their website. 

About the author: Deborah Hamilton is the Strategic Services Librarian for the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, Colorado.