Bucks Writs - Spring 2019 - 13




By Chris Serpico

id you know that the Bucks County Law Library
has "temporarily" moved from its long time location
on the bottom floor of the Administration Building
(i.e., the round building formerly known as the
Bucks County Courthouse) to what used to
be the Prothonotary's Office on the second
floor of the Administration Building? I
didn't realize that until I recently had the
opportunity to spend some time with
Barbara Morris, the Director of the Bucks
County Law Library since 2007.

The library has most County Reporter cases on microfiche,
and all Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester County reporters
are kept up to date. A subscription to the Legal Intelligencer is available for any patron to read for free.
PBI publications are available for review, and as
newer titles are received, older publications
are made available "for sale."
Pennsylvania statutes dating back to 1954
are available, as well as court opinions
from 1973 onward, and ordinances from
Bucks County municipalities are located in a
nearby storage room. The library also keeps up
to date collections of PA Rules of Court and Suggested
Jury Instructions.

After being in the previous location for forty years,
it's easy to understand why some lawyers, like me, were
not aware of the location change, but when the County
began renovating the basement last year to make room for
Area Agency on Aging, Children and Youth Services, and
other county offices, new space had to be found for the law
library. The plan is to eventually return the law library to the
downstairs location near the end of this summer, but in the
meantime the library continues to function very nicely in a
bright, airy space where the Prothy's office once conducted
business before it was relocated to the Justice Center.

Barbara explained that she spends about 70% of her time
assisting members of the general public, and the remaining
30% of her time helping out lawyers. Citizens will most
often seek her help in identifying forms that will enable
them to draft legal pleadings relating to custody and
divorce, such as a Motion to Modify Alimony, or a Motion
to Vacate a PFA Order. It's not unusual for someone to use
the law library to find a sample motion and proposed order;
create and print the document on Word; and file it all
on the same day!

Although use has markedly decreased since the relocation,
the law library continues to serve as an important resource
for both lawyers and members of the general public. There
are copiers available and computer access. Users can also
scan and forward documents by email at the library. Because
the County has contracts with both Westlaw and Lexis Nexis,
lawyers as well as members of the general public are able to
access their huge databases free of charge.

When the library returns to its former location in the
basement of the Administration Building, it will have lost
about 1/3 of its space. Accordingly, tough decisions had
to be made about which publications would have to be
purged in order to fit into the available space in the new
location. Among the publications that were removed
from circulation and sold were the Federal Reporter;
the Supreme Court Reporter; and American Law
Reporter (ALR) digests. The library continues to retain
a few rare and valuable collections, including Viner's
Abridgement of PA cases that date back to case histories
from the 1600s.

There are also three public access computers located on
Level B1 of the Justice Center from which users can also
access Westlaw and Lexis. Fax service is also available here.
Anyone familiar with the expense of a subscription to
Westlaw will realize the substantial savings that can
be had by making use of the County Law Library's
subscription. According to Barbara Morris, some of the
more frequent visitors to the library include Bucks County
lawyers Jim Schildt; Jack Hetherington; Rich Magee; Bill
Casey; Jeff Toner; and Andy Schneider.

If you haven't visited the law library in a while, I
encourage you to do so.
You may be in for a surprise. 



Bucks Writs - Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Spring 2019

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