Law Libraries

March 18, 2013: Technology in libraries improves access to the legal system

Lawyers in Libraries website

The mission of the State Court Library Committee is to provide access to current as well as historical sources of law and law-related information in an efficient, cost-effective, and timely manner.

In the State of Maine, access to justice is a constitutional right.
This right is guaranteed by Article I, Section 19 of the Constitution of Maine:

Section 19. Every person, for an injury inflicted on the person or the person's reputation, property, or immunity, shall have remedy by due course of law; and the right and justice shall be administered freely and without sale, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay.

Access to justice for our citizens involves more than the establishments of courts and laying out the State's legal process.
Access to justice must include access to the primary and secondary sources of law, that is to say, access to the rules, regulations and judicial precedents, not only in Maine, but also in the United States. Accordingly, it is necessary to locate and make use of these primary resources.

Access to justice without access to information is truly meaningless.
Thus, it is the purpose of the State Court Library Committee to create and supervise a system of equal law libraries for every one of its citizens as one of the bulwarks protecting the right of equal justice under the law for every citizen.

Public Court Law Libraries
As the public court law libraries of the State of Maine, the Committee's Law Libraries are established to provide legal information to the Trial Courts, both District and Superior, and to the Law Court, and to the legal community and general public. This library network strives to develop specialized collections and services to address the legal reference, research, educational, and community information needs of its library users. These Law libraries are committed to facilitating access to their collections and services.

Please note that only one of these libraries, Cleaves in Cumberland County, is staffed. However, there is a notebook at each location containing instructions on how to access the computer resources.

County Law Library Resources

The following locations currently have an internet connections with access to Lexis:

  • Cumberland County Law Library (Cleaves)
  • Lincoln County Law Library
  • Franklin County Law Library
  • Penobscot County Law Library
  • Aroostook County Law Library-Caribou
  • Aroostook County Law Library-Houlton
  • Washington County Law Library

Accessing this material over the computer is fairly simple, and for those with limited computer experience, an instruction manual is provided. Results can be e-mailed to your own computer or printed for a small fee. Hardbound materials updated at all locations include the Maine Revised Statutes, the Maine Reporter, and several Maine specific treatises. These are for reference only and are not to be taken from the library.

The Cumberland County Law Library (Cleaves) in Portland and Penobscot County Law Library in Bangor serve as regional centers. The collections includes the above resources plus many other hardbound titles.

If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Resources and Guides

A brief guide is designed to offer effective methods for locating Maine statutes, annotations, opinions, and rules on computers located in county law libraries.

Questions?
Questions about the libraries should be directed to the Judicial Branch webmaster webmaster webmaster@courts.maine.gov.