Partnership creates increased public access to legal resources
Deschutes County residents and attorneys now have greater access than ever before to the county’s Law Library as a result of a new partnership between the county and Deschutes Public Library.
Previously accessible to the public for just 25 hours during the week and only at the county’s offices in downtown Bend, the Law Library is now available 56 hours each week—including weekend hours—thanks to the partnership. This means that attorneys, amateur legal scholars and the general public can now access print and online databases at more convenient times and at multiple locations according to Deschutes Public Library Director Todd Dunkelberg.
“This partnership enhances the services we’ve been providing for decades and really helps us achieve our mission of getting more resources and information into the hands of the people,” said Dunkelberg. “Previously the Law Library was only available during the day, and only on weekdays. We now give the public access to the library on weekdays, weeknights and weekends. It’s a great partnership with the county that benefits everyone.”
Oregon law dictates that counties maintain a law library. The partnership means resources once only available at the Law Library are now available in all six of Deschutes Public Library’s branches, including La Pine, Sunriver, Sisters, Redmond and Bend. The Law Library’s physical book collection is housed at the Downtown Bend Library, while online databases are available at all six branches. Those databases include LexisNexis Express, which provides extensive legal research sources, such as law review articles, research papers, court decisions, regulations, codes, patents and more. The Downtown Bend Library also hosts LexisNexis Advance, a robust online legal research tool often used by attorneys, and BarBooks, which provides access to every Oregon State Bar publication.
While library staff members do not give legal advice, Dunkelberg says they have been trained to assist people doing legal research.
“If someone needs help getting started with the Law Library’s resources, a good place to start is with our Book-a-Librarian service,” said Dunkelberg. “Deschutes County residents can book a time to meet one-on-one with one of our librarians, who will provide help with research questions.”
Residents can book a librarian by calling 541-617-7080, or by filling out a form on the Library’s website
Deschutes County Deputy Administrator Erik Kropp said the partnership maximizes Deschutes Public Library’s expertise.
“Deschutes County saw an opportunity to partner with the Deschutes Public Library to tap into the expertise and resources of the local library system,” Kropp said. “By integrating law library services throughout Deschutes Public Library, we hope to expand the service level and access for residents.”