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The Hawaii Supreme Court Law Library is Here for You – Online

Posted on May 27, 2020 in Featured News, News & Reports

Laptop computer image with photo of the Hawaii Supreme Court Law Library interior with reference desk & bookshelves superimposed on the screen.

The worldwide pandemic has forced many government institutions to suspend operations, but the Hawaii Supreme Court Law Library remains open – remotely – and is ready to help with your legal research needs. The staff is leveraging innovative uses of technology to provide access to services, while upholding community health and safety measures.

Virtual Reference Desk

One of the most significant recent developments is the law library’s “Virtual Reference Desk.” It is accessible to both computers and mobile devices and offers a variety of helpful resources for Judiciary staff, attorneys, court interpreters, and self-represented litigants.

The site has scored nearly a thousand hits and generated hundreds of emails since its launch in early April.

The Law Library is also piloting “Virtual Chat,” where patrons can participate in live chat with a librarian in real time. The pilot launch is scheduled for the first week of June 2020, and live chat will be offered Monday – Friday, from 1 – 3 p.m.

Fees Temporarily Waived for Documents

The Virtual Reference Desk also facilitates contact with library staff via email and phone calls. Just send or leave a message with your request and a librarian will contact you.

Staff are helping patrons find books, and access Hawaii appellate court opinions and court rules. They also assist with requests for legislative history, federal or state documents, and more.

As an additional public service, all document delivery/legislative history fees are temporarily waived.

Remote Patron Access to LexisNexis®, Westlaw, ebooks

During the pandemic, the Library has secured agreements with vendors like LexisNexis, Westlaw and ebook vendors to provide patrons with passwords and remote access for a limited time.

Visit the Virtual Reference Desk home page to complete your registration and start using these online research services.

Another resource that can now be accessed remotely is the LexisNexis Digital Library. It includes more than 1,300 volumes from the Matthew Bender/LexisNexis treatise collection. Patrons can electronically check out up to 10 volumes for two weeks. At the end of the circulation period, the items are automatically checked back in to the digital library.

Registration is simple and our staff will have you signed-up within minutes. To request access, email LawLibrary@courts.hawaii.gov or call the Reference Desk at (808) 539-4964.

FAQs

The site also features curated lists of essential COVID-19 legal and community resources on topics such as:

•  Health insurance
•  Illegal lockout and utility shut-offs
•  Landlord-tenant issues
•  Unemployment denials
•  Hawaii financial, food, and health benefits, …and more.

Family Law Information Via Remote Access to Justice Room

The library continues to serve as a satellite Access to Justice Room where attorneys meet with members of the public on a limited basis and provide free legal assistance on family law matters. The service is available by appointment only and connects people to the volunteer attorneys via Zoom.

Currently, the Oahu Family Court Access to Justice Room is focusing on assisting clients whose previously scheduled appointments had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 building closures. Scheduling of new appointments is anticipated to begin in early June. Please check the Judiciary’s Self-Help Center/Access to Justice Room web page for updates:

www.courts.state.hi.us/general_information/access_to_justice_rooms_self_help_centers

“Librarians love to share information and help people, and we will continue to maintain and expand access to our resources during the pandemic,” said Hawaii State Law Librarian and Access to Justice Coordinator Jenny Silbiger.