Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has unveiled the latest addition to Harris County Law Library digital outreach—the Digital Education Nook.
Ryan cut the ribbon on the new addition with Law Library Director Mariann Sears, Law Library Deputy Director Joseph Lawson, and Gabe Baker, Community Outreach Specialist from the Harris County Judge’s Office.
“The Digital Education Nook is a section in the Law Library where visitors can sit down and watch on-demand video content,” said County Attorney Ryan. “These videos cover a wide range of topics relevant to both the general public and to practicing attorneys.”
This new digital resource offers a self-help video collection for those unable to afford legal representation. The collection – made available in collaboration with the Texas Office of Court Administration – provides short tutorials on legal processes that can help individuals accessing the courts, such as “How to file a case?” and “How to appear in court?”
Attorneys can watch, learn, and earn Texas continuing legal education credit for free via videos of experts who visit to share their knowledge at live programs in the Harris County Attorney Conference Center. The programs are recorded and then made available for viewing through the Digital Education Nook.
“We’ve found that recent graduates still struggling with student loan debt and small firm attorneys without a big budget benefit tremendously from the free opportunities to stay up-to-date with the latest technology,” said Sears.
The content is available in both English and Spanish with the option of captioning for the hearing impaired. The section is also wheelchair accessible. The content and use of the nook is free in diverse formats. By providing viewing equipment within steps of the courthouse, the Law Library is extending opportunities to individuals who might otherwise be excluded from this information, thereby increasing their ability to access justice.
In addition, the Law Library will also be launching a digital collection of Lexis-Nexis resources which can be accessed on any device on the Wi-Fi network of the downtown courthouse campus. The Library has also expanded its databases to include nationwide coverage, implemented automated tools for legal research, and offers access to Procertas, an online learning platform for legal office technology.
“We continue to innovate and be a leader – not only locally, but nationally – in the effort to promote open access to justice,” said County Attorney Ryan. “As a legal resource destination, we take pride in being able to provide Harris County residents with the tools to participate in government.”
About the Harris County Law Library
The Harris County Law Library opened in 1915 and has continued to serve Harris County’s legal information needs for more than a century. After joining the Office of Vince Ryan, Harris County Attorney, in 2011, the Law Library greatly expanded its technology offerings and educational opportunities. Ryan’s support for the revitalization of the Law Library was recognized by the American Association of Law Libraries in 2016 when he was named the Law Library Advocate of the Year. The Law Library is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit www.harriscountylawlibrary.org for more information.