Public Libraries Partner for Access to Justice
New Hampshire Law Library shares free online legal research database with library patrons in Derry, Portsmouth and Littleton
DERRY/PORTSMOUTH, NH—Derry Public Library and Portsmouth Public Library now offer Westlaw Public Access, a comprehensive legal research database designed especially for use in government, law, and public libraries. Westlaw access is provided through a partnership with the New Hampshire Law Library, the state’s only public law library. Derry and Portsmouth are the second and third public libraries to partner with the Law Library: Littleton Public Library has offered access to Westlaw since 2019.
“I’m extremely excited that DPL is entering this partnership with the New Hampshire Law Library,” said Derry Public Library Director (and former attorney) Eric Stern. “Working with Law Librarian Mary Searles has been a joy, and being able to provide Westlaw expands our library’s legal reference capabilities by leaps and bounds. Free Westlaw levels the playing field for folks who’d previously lacked access. Simply put, it’s a game changer.”
People interested in researching legal information in their cases have few options, and they tend to be either time-consuming, far away, or expensive. Free Westlaw access means that anyone who comes to the Derry, Portsmouth or Littleton libraries will have the same online sources used by attorneys. The public can also access Westlaw for free in Concord at the New Hampshire Law Library.
According to Searles, “Partnering with public libraries increases the reach and impact of the state’s law library. We’re able to bring accurate and reliable legal information closer to the people who need it. Public librarians are available to help patrons use Westlaw, and to find legal information and appropriate organizations for more help.”
Researchers do not need a library card to use Westlaw and librarians are available to provide reference assistance.
For more information about the New Hampshire Law Library, see https://www.courts.nh.gov/resources/nh-law-library