Build on this and take it deeper: reflections on a libraries and justice partnership event

Delhon Profile CroppedIn my last guest post, I summarized “Libraries and Justice: Innovative Access for Rural and Remote Communities.” This day-long event explored ways that library and justice organizations can work together to improve access to justice in rural and remote communities.

We were very pleased with the enthusiasm from our speakers and diverse attendees. However, what we were really keen to learn about was what kinds of action would flow from the event.

To gather ideas, we circulated an evaluation survey to our attendees. A selection of the responses is listed below.

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Describe any access to justice related action you may be taking as a result of your participation in this program.

  • “Contacting the Ontario Library Association to arrange for a specialty clinic presence at their conference.”
  • “The Ontario Courthouse Libraries Association has created a focus group to explore how we will partner with our local libraries and community clinics.”

What did you find useful about the program?

  • “The mix of people was excellent. Not knowing what to expect and walking in to meet talented individuals from different fields, just thinking out loud on access to justice issues was phenomenal. I very much enjoyed the experience. I also liked how the needs were highlighted; how BC was given as a type of case study of what we could be doing. Just different ways to think of an age old problem was super.”
  • “It provided good opportunities for networking, and it was a great way to learn about what is happening with both libraries and clinics in R&R [rural and remote] areas. I think there was a very positive energy, and people seemed enthusiastic. Lisa’s graphic art was also very inspiring and a good way to capture themes and challenges.”
  • “Hearing other ideas from different points of view.”
  • “Understanding the resources of libraries.”
  • “Bringing people together face to face. The human connection was very useful.”


What could be improved about the program?

  • “Make it an annual or biannual event.”
  • “Build on this and take it deeper.”
  • “More opportunities/facilitation to form formal partnerships and think of next steps to initiate change.”

We are encouraged by these rich responses and will follow-up with event participants in a few months to see how their efforts have developed. We will look forward to sharing updates here on the PLE Learning Exchange Libraries and Justice Partnerships pages.

Sabreena Delhon is the Manager of The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) at the Law Society of Upper Canada. Follow her on Twitter @sabreenadelhon.

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