Kane County (IL) gets a court self-help center


The 450,000 residents of Kane County, Illinois, now have a Self-Help Center for their use and assistance, located at the Judiciary Center’s Law Library, in St. Charles, IL.  (press release)  The website is easy to navigate, with helpful materials, such as those prepared for small claims petitioners and respondents.  What strikes me most about this Self-Help Center is the participation of so many “stakeholders” — from the judiciary’s administrators and judges, and the law library staff, to local Legal Aid, the Kane County Bar Association, and other civic groups.  According to Law Librarian Halle Mikyska, “The library was able to launch the center through a $43,000 grant it received in January from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation” and (bravo) “We just had fantastic support for this throughout the Kane County legal system.” (The [Elgin] Courier News Online, “Kane Law Library Opens Self-Help Center,” Oct. 18, 2006)

The Center’s goals should be adopted in courthouses, libraries and legal communities across the nation: “to better serve the needs of pro-se litigants; to provide additional user friendly materials to pro-se litigants that will help increase efficiency in the court system; and to assist and educate the public on how to use available legal resources.”  To assure that the information provided would be easily accessible to as many persons as possible, the Website was designed at a fifth-grade reading level.

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