What We Do At ACLL

Story hour at the law library

Law libraries have story hours, too, and more than just an hour.  Over the past few days, the Alameda County Law Library has been sharing patron stories on other social media sites.  This post provides a compilation of these stories; summarizing just how the library staff and resources help individuals from the Alameda County community and locations beyond.

The end-of-year holiday season is upon us.  A time when people give thanks and gifts to others.  We would like to encourage you to provide support for what we do here at ACLL by participating in the #Seasonofsmiles campaign organized by Amazon when you do your holiday shopping online  Smile.amazon.com/ch/94-6000109, or directly, via the ACLL’s secured contribution page.

Thank you. And seasons greetings to all.


ACLL patrons stories:

From a solo practitionerThis library has been crucial to me throughout my law career.  It is an important resource for any attorney who does not work for a big firm—and that is a large group.  Solo practitioners, those who work part-time at home (e.g., those with children), those with offices in the city but who wish to telecommute but cannot work at home, and simply any lawyer working on a big project who needs space for uninterrupted work, the county law library is an invaluable resource!

From a self-represented litigant – Today the library helped me look up important info in an expensive (for me) Nolo Press book.  Gave me internet access to obtain key info.  Gave me a quiet, stress-free place to work on a stressful issue providing assistance on how to access all the library’s resources.

From a legal studies student – I just started my paralegal class. At the library to work on my first class assignment.  Inexperience with computers but need to use ACLL’s online legal databases to find cases that discuss the law when one neighbor builds his fence across another neighbor’s property.  Got help with how to bring up the databases on the public computers, search for cases, and email and print the documents I found. 

From a family law court petitioner – Today the law library helped me… find information about my rights as a grandparent —  visiting and maybe guardianship.  The staff showed me the pages on the California Courts Self-Help Center on the internet.  It had page of information about what I can do.  I was also shown the pages on guardianship and where to find the court forms online.  I used the library’s computer to complete my forms and print them out.

From a patron who struggles with using technologyThe library staff member was such a wonderful person to deal with.  He was extremely helpful to a senior citizen who is not computer literate.  After working and searching on the website, I finally summoned help.  Very knowledgeable and I must say he went beyond the call of duty in helping someone like me who isn’t familiar with all the new legal technology.

From a patron who needs to save on law office overhead expenses – As a freelance paralegal, I see firsthand the state of the various resources each law office has available.  More and more resources are getting squeezed out of the typical law office budget.  Having a high-level community resource such as the Alameda County Law Library is one way a small or mid-sized law office can differentiate themselves in the market… send their paralegals and support team to the library to conduct research, check practice guides, etc.

From a patron who is new to California law – Today the library helped me… I am new in California and recently bought a home in the City of Alameda.  I was referred to the Law Library by the County Recorder’s Office to get a Transfer on Death form.  I received the form and instructions to help me complete the form.  The desk staff was very kind and helpful.

From a frequent patron – Alameda’s law library is the best in the area.  Not only in terms of the excellent research services but also in terms of the staff’s willingness to help its patrons.  It is truly an invaluable institution, not only for those of us in the legal community who are frequent patrons, but also for members of the general public who may need assistance with legal research from time to time.


Personal information withheld to protect patron privacy.




Tis The Season – Use AmazonSmile For Your Holiday Shopping


You might be thinking,  “Ho-Ho-hold on there.  It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet.”

Just slipping in an early reminder about the AmazonSmile shopping program and the Alameda County Law Library.

You shop.  Amazon gives.

  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Alameda County Law Library whenever you shop on AmazonSmile using this link smile.amazon.com/ch/94-6000109.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know.  Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support ACLL by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/94-6000109.

We wanted to be sure we caught any of you hyper-organized people who will have all your holiday shopping completed by the end of November.  (You know who you are, sister-in-law in Ohio.)

New Resource Regarding Section 8 Housing Rights

Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, California Supreme Court Justice, initiator of the video project

Multi-language Self-Help Resource on Section 8 Tenant Rights

A new page from the California courts provides a five-part video series available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Korean. This page has resources and information on public housing programs that can help low-income people obtain housing they can afford.

This has not been a subject of choice for the for-profit legal publishers. The free internet resource is a great addition now available to legal practitioners and researchers.

Read the courts’ press release here.

The California Judicial Branch’s website continues to build its online Self-Help resources. There is now an index to help legal information consumers find relevant information. The site is not just for forms anymore.

For Left-handed Researchers – A Little Help

The 10 to 12% of the people in the world who are left-handed have to struggle in a world designed for right handers.

Here at the Alameda County Law Library, we have taken a step to make lefties’ lives just a little bit better.   A new icon on the ACLL public computers now allows a patron to configure the mouse for use as a left-handed person for just that one session.  On the ACLL network software menu, look for the icon named “Left Handed User” icon, click on it, and the mouse is then configured for a left handed person – the buttons at the top are reversed to allow for easier clicking with the index finger on the left hand.

Once the patron logs out, which triggers the computer to reboot, the mouse will automatically go back to the default right-handed mouse setting.