Information Activism


December 2022

Libraries are a locus of equal access to information. But beyond that, they are the vanguard for “information activism.” Courthouse Libraries BC (“CLBC”) is unique among North American law libraries in that — while we started out as a modest clutch of law books owned by the colony’s earliest barristers — we now stand for raising legal literacy for all British Columbians. This dual mandate makes us unique: yes we serve lawyers; but we are accountable to those who never had the privilege of a legal education. Our official vision is that everyone in BC has ready access to the legal information and resources they need.

CLBC’s information activism is evident from our biggest programs to our smallest encounters with folks who enter the courthouse fraught by angst and emerge possessed of a confidence to navigate their legal journey with autonomy and hope. Our larger programs advance systemic changes: LawMatters funds, trains, and promotes public libraries in their capacity to offer legal reference support in even the smallest BC communities; Clicklaw aggregates free, digitally-available legal information and offers a HelpMap that lists clinics and other services by location, specialty, etc. Various internal working groups at CLBC are also driven by information activism: from our Prison Outreach team, to our Accessible Collections team (reducing barriers faced by those with visual impairments), to our Court Forms Accessibility team (advising Court Services about the challenges people face filling out forms), to our TRC Working Group.