About the People's Law Library of Iowa
In 2016, the Iowa Supreme Court established the Iowa Access to Justice Commission in part to find ways to help Iowans overcome obstacles when accessing the Iowa justice system. From the beginning, Commissioners wanted to provide Iowans with a resource similar to what existed in a number of states: a basic, easy-to-understand website with information about the law. The gold-standard for such websites was and is The People’s Law Library of Maryland. However, such resources cannot be created or maintained for free, and the website remained a dream for the Commission, including Mandy Easter, who in addition to being actively involved with the Commission is the State Library of Iowa’s Law Librarian.
In 2021, the State Library of Iowa sought grant funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for initiatives to assist libraries with ongoing challenges in connecting with patrons and making their resources more widely accessible online. Since the idea and model existed for a long-desired People’s Law Library of Iowa, grant funding was allocated to build and launch a website by September 30, 2022.
The State Library reached out to the University of Iowa Law Library for advice and ideas, which eventually evolved into a partnership. And, over the course of less than a year, this website was created and launched!
What the People's Law Library is (and what it isn't)
The People’s Law Library of Iowa is meant to be an easy-to-understand, basic information website about the law. The assumption is that the user has no prior knowledge of law or legal topics. This website can be a good starting point for understanding some legal issues. It seeks to help users find primary law, so anyone can read the original text being summarized, and to collect and link to accurate, authoritative sources, like the Iowa Judicial Branch or Iowa Attorney General websites, for example. Lastly, because people learn and retain information in different ways, the website contains video explanations of some topics, as well as navigation and training videos for how to best use the website.
The People’s Law Library is not legal advice, nor is it a replacement for a lawyer. The contents should be read as providing basic, introductory information only. The law can be complicated and many aspects of the law change regularly. More information about how to find a lawyer, including free and low-cost options, is available here.
Additional questions about the People's Law Library? Feel free to contact us.
Thanks to our partners
Our special thanks to the team at the University of Iowa, including law librarians Ellen Jones, Druet Cameron Klugh, Amy Koopmann, and Carissa Vogel, staff member Mattthew Brown, and student workers and research assistants Hibah Lateef, Jennifer Schrauth, Emma Udom-Azogu, and Shuwen Xu. Additionally, thanks to members of the Access to Justice Commission, Tim Eckley from the Iowa Judicial Branch, Virginia Sipes from the Iowa State Bar Association, and retired Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent R. Appel for his tireless advocacy and efforts for access to justice initiatives in Iowa.
Help spread the word about the People’s Law Library. Download printable PDFs of promotional items below. Additional materials are in the process of being developed; check back soon for more!
Size: 8.5” x 11”
This full color poster features a QR code that users can scan to be taken directly to the People’s Law Library website.
Size: 3.6” x 8.5”
Designed to be printed on 8.5” x 11” paper and then cut into three pieces, these handbills fit into standard brochure holders and feature a detachable business card at the bottom. For best results, print on cardstock and trim along the white guide lines.
File Type: PNG with transparent background
The People's Law Library logo can be used to promote and link to the website.