Law Library Resources Available at IMCPL

June 10, 2010

For individuals who may choose to represent themselves in court, the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library has acquired a small share of legal materials formerly housed at the Marion County Law Library in the City-County Building, which closed due to budgetary constraints in December 2009.

These materials, now available at Central Library downtown on the third floor, are for pro se litigants, those who wish to represent themselves in court without an attorney. These include a general yet comprehensive encyclopedia set and various legal form books.

The form books are aimed at attorneys and are not typical fill-in-the-blank forms that people assume they need when told by the court to find a particular form. These books provide guidelines and terms useful for a named form, but patrons must type their own form with the facts pertinent to their own circumstances and include all the necessary pieces of the law as described by the Indiana Code or relevant law.

"It's important to note that we legally cannot explain the law or tell you what to write for a particular form," said Robin Kelley, Central Library Supervising Librarian, who stressed that serving as one's own attorney is a difficult process. "Librarians can familiarize you with useful sources, but it is up to you to interpret the law, understand the rules of the court, and other pertinent information if you choose to forego legal representation. Decisions reached by the court can influence your life for years to come," Kelley added.

When the Law Library was located in the City-County Building, a dedicated law librarian aided individuals in their research and explained how to navigate the court system. Central Library currently does not have specialized staff that can provide this service.

Legal reference books cannot be removed from Central Library, but patrons may make copies at 15 cents per page. Patrons can solicit the assistance of a librarian on the third floor to access the form books. Other legal materials can be accessed freely from the shelves.

For more information, contact Central Library at 275-4100.