Eureka Public Library has been chosen as one of three libraries in Woodford County to serve as a public access point for a new online legal self-help center. The El Paso Public Library and multiple branches of the Illinois Prairie District will also provide access locations for the Woodford County Legal Self-Help Center. For people with internet access the website, http://woodford.illinoislegalaid.org is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Woodford County Legal Self-Help Center was developed to provide accurate information on Illinois law to the growing number of people who need to go to court on their own because they cannot find an attorney to represent them in a civil court situation. The website provides information about a wide variety of civil legal problems, including videos on going to court, court pleadings, examples and explanations of documentation required, and information on other legal organizations. The home page of the website includes a short welcome video, information on the six most common legal problems encountered, and a search bar to help find information on other legal concerns. Library staff cannot provide legal help, but can provide instructional training on navigating the website. Printing of the information is also available at a per page cost at the library.
EPLD Nancy Scott sees this program as part of the library’s ongoing role in providing the community with information. “The Eureka Public Library District is happy to be a part of this new collaborative project,” says Scott. “Being one of the public access locations for the Woodford County Legal Self-Help Center provides us with a new resource for our patrons, especially those people who have a legal problem, or who may need to know more about the law.” The center is a result of collaboration between the three libraries, Illinois Legal Aid Online and the Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice. The funding for the legal self-help center comes from a grant from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation through Prairie State Legal Services. The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation receives its funding from the Illinois General Assembly. The Woodford County Legal Self-Help Center is the eighty-second such center opened in Illinois since 2007.