Editor’s Note: Due to a technological glitch, authorship of this post is attributed to Jason Sowards. Meg Martin is the author of this post.
Electronic forms are a good argument for print and for the librarians that support print and electronic information. The State Law Library of Wyoming recently acquired access to the Gale Legal Forms database through the State Library. I’ve been playing around with the database while I prepare a training webinar for public librarians. There seems to be a good mix of forms including: family law, business law, and corporations law. Some forms have been completed as examples and checklists have been included in some subject areas. These forms will certainly fill a gap for Wyoming’s residents who are far (500 miles plus) from the law library.
However, I was disappointed to see there was no reference to the appropriate state statutes on the forms even though they are listed in the Wyoming subsection as though they were specifically created for Wyoming law. Most anyone, except for someone trained in the law, would need assistance from a law librarian to find the information to be able to implement and complete them correctly. We will need to continue to highlight the information available on the Law Library website including access to state statutes and self-help forms that have been created specifically for Wyoming.
I admit I prefer to have patrons step into the law library or call us, so I can suggest they read a legal encyclopedia, the dictionary, or look at forms within the context of a legal forms book. Our patrons need more than just the forms and sadly, often patrons do not know what they don’t know so they are unprepared to know what questions to ask.
The county libraries have extensive collections of Nolo and Sphinx legal self-help publications. Hopefully those books along with the forms database and the law library’s assistance will improve access to the law for the far-flung residents of Wyoming.