Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Profiling at the Reference Desk

I contributed the above article, "Profiling at the Reference Desk," to the latest issue of the SCCLL newsletter. My article is on page 13. In the article, I call for improved data collection to improve the evaluation of how librarians contribute to court procedures. I welcome comments and debate on the topic.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

Dear Jackie,
I enjoyed your article and think you raise some excellent points. I was most taken by the assertion that most SRLs (self-represented litigants) lose their cases. I am sure that's true, and it's a melancholy fact that without counsel, it's very difficult for a layperson to manage litigation.

When I worked at St. Louis U., I covered Sundays or Saturdays as a reference person. The policy at that time was to assist all pro se patrons. At that time, there was very little public access to legal materials, as there was not a city law library, and the county library was in the 'burbs, not easily accessed unless you had a car.

I helped a number of pro se patrons and only one or two ever came back to say they won. I am sure most lost. Jim Milles and I discussed the ethics of helping such people at all -- was it not a cruel kindness to let them think they had some chance when they really would do better to get a lawyer? I still say people should have the option of self-representation, but it really is a bad chance!

Thought-provoking article on profiling!