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Mobile Library Law Center

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Mobile Library Law Center

Baltimore County Public Library

Civic and Community Engagement | 2021 | Honorable Mention

Innovation Summary

BCPL is the first library system in the country to own and operate a vehicle solely dedicated to free legal services for those with accessibility limitations. The Mobile Library Law Center, debuted in August, was custom designed to serve as a mobile legal office with attorney offering free civil legal advice to community members in need.

Problem Statement

As demonstrated by the high level of participation in the library’s “Lawyers in the Library” program, there was a need for free legal help in the Baltimore County community. Though the program proved helpful—and sometimes life changing—for participants, those with transportation barriers were unable to benefit from this service. Bringing attorneys to people in need could help expand access to essential and life changing services for Baltimore County’s most vulnerable neighbors and remove obstacles to their success.


Innovation

The vehicle, fully funded by private donations and grants, is retrofitted to include a private meeting space, solar panels to reduce the vehicle’s carbon footprint and all the necessary electronic equipment and internet access, in addition to a collection of legal books and library-staff provided notary service. The fully functioning legal office currently travels to underserved areas on the east and west sides of Baltimore County each week.


Progress

Since getting “on the road,” the Mobile Library Law Center has conducted 27 site visits and helped 90+ people who were eligible for free legal services. While some participants have come specifically for assistance with a variety of issues, including expungements, custody/visitation, divorce/separation/annulment and foreclosures, others have seen the MLLC from a bus stop, walked over and received life-changing services.