Written by Vanessa Seeger, Outreach Librarian, Hamilton County Law Library
Not long ago, an article, opens a new window came out about how children’s books in law libraries increase access to justice. The article, published by Harris County Law Library in Houston, Texas made a few key points. Access to children's books at the library provides a much-needed break for parents who need to do legal research and might struggle with access to childcare.
The article notes, "Books Between Kids, a non-profit organization that collects books to distribute to marginalized children throughout Houston, points out [that] books are often scarce and considered “luxury” items in modest-means households, which can hinder a child’s ability to participate in and complete basic education. The Legal Services Corporation Justice Gap Report indicates strong correlations between limited education, poverty, and a need for access to justice services. By providing access to age-appropriate reading material for free [...] we can give kids access to learning opportunities they might not otherwise experience. In the aggregate, that transforms thousands of visits to the courthouse and law library into opportunities to promote education, which has the potential to help thousands of kids in modest-means households avoid falling through justice gaps later in life."
We at the Hamilton County Law Library, opens a new window say it over and over: Knowledge is power. The ability to gain knowledge through reading makes you all-powerful, a superhero, if you will. With that in mind, we have partnered with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to offer a collection of books – from picture books all the way up to adult books – that are accessible to anyone who might need a little break or a distraction while visiting the Courthouse.
These books are available to read while visiting the Law Library but can also be returned to any Branch Library of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County if you find you just can’t put it down. The collection will change each month, so rest assured that there will always be something for learners of all ages and interests.
Together we can empower the next generation of learners so that if they encounter the justice system again, on either side of the bench, they’ll have their superpowers at the ready.