November 28, 2006 > Legal information @ your library
Legal information @ your library
Sooner or later, everybody needs to know something about the law. It could be about landlord/tenant relations, taxes, marriage and divorce, small business concerns, wills and trusts, a neighbor's dog, patents and copyright, or a host of other things. The library has a set of the actual law, the US and California Codes, and also a large number of books that explain the law on many topics in practical ways, using everyday language instead of legalese. Many of these are published by Nolo Press, and include forms in the back that can be photocopied and used in official filings. The Fremont Main library has a complete set of these books at the reference desk if the one you want is not available for checkout. Some of the popular items in our legal reference department are:
* West's Annotated California Codes
* Parker Directory of California Attorneys
* Uniform Building Codes, including Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical Codes
* Fremont Municipal Codes and Alameda County Administrative Codes
* California and Bay Area Court Rules
* U.S Laws, Acts and Treaties (3 volume set)
We also have a large and diverse collection of popular law books, including multiple copies of the most popular Nolo Press topics, and books on famous cases and trials.
Most of the Nolo books are also available as e-books through NetLibrary, which means that you can "check out" an electronic copy of the book from any computer with web access, read it and print selected pages, as long as you have already created a NetLibrary account. (This only has to be done once, but it must be done inside the library. Come in and we'll help you do it. After that, you'll be able to check out these e-books from any computer with a net connection.)
There are some good websites out there for legal information, too. We have a list of them on our website at: http://aclibrary.org. Look under the column labeled Research Guide on the right and click on Legal Information. We have it divided into categories: Overview Sites, Federal Laws, California, Alameda County, Municipal Courts, Courts, Special Topics, Attorneys & Forms. On it, you'll find links to an online law dictionary, sites to find a lawyer, laws, codes and legal opinions, guides to basic legal information on popular topics like wills, divorce, and rental issues, do-it-yourself tools, current cases in the news, and more.
Last but not least, there are the Alameda County Law Libraries. These are supported by court fees and a primarily meant for lawyers and other officers of the court, but they are open to the public. The main law library is in downtown Oakland at 125 12th Street, very close to the Lake Merritt BART station. There is a smaller branch in Hayward near the courthouse there, at 224 W. Winton Ave., Room 162.
In any case, please always feel free to ask a librarian for help, whatever your legal needs may be.
DATABASE OF THE MONTH: LEARNING EXPRESS
Need to prepare for an exam to get a job, get into college, earn advanced placement credits, get citizenship, or just practice some basic skills? Would you like to take a free online course to improve your skills to prepare for a test? The Learning Express is the one for you. There is a huge number of tests and practice sessions to choose from. Most academic tests are included, such as the new SAT, ACT, GED, GRE, LSAT, MCAT and many more. There are many career exams, from general civil service to teaching and education to medical technology to cosmetology to law enforcement and firefighting. Tests for citizenship and TOEFL are included, as is the ASVAB (military entrance).
There is also a large section of "skills Improvement" assessment tests and free online preparation courses, divided by elementary, middle and high school. We have also just added a large selection of computer skills courses, so you can learn about programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Acrobat. All you need to do is to have a library card, go to http://aclibrary.org, and click on Articles & Databases listed under Research Guide (the column on the middle of the page on the right). Learning Express is under the heading called Test Preparation. You will then have to enter the barcode number on the back of your library card. Once you are in, if it is your first time, you will have to create an account. Click on New User, and then give the system a username and a password, and you will then be at the large menu of test and course choices. Choose a category and a test or course, and start.
The next time you come back to the database, click on Returning User and enter your username and password. This database allows you to save tests or courses you are working on and come back to them later when you have time. It also scores your test and gives you feedback on your results. For some courses (like the ones covering computer skills), you may be asked to load a multimedia tool Learning Express has developed so that you can utilize the sound and video parts of the product. Sometimes the library may run out of a book to prepare for a test, but this part of the library is always open, and the material is always "on the shelf." Check it out!