May 21, 2024

People’s Law Library in demand as Iowans seek resources for legal help

The People’s Law Library of Iowa has gained thousands of online visitors and even more content related to Iowa’s laws.

DES MOINES – Since its launch in October 2022, the People’s Law Library of Iowa has gained thousands of online visitors and even more content related to Iowa’s laws. The website helps Iowans find the legal information they need in plain, easy to understand language.

The resource experienced steady growth of website traffic throughout the first year. Since last October, the site has averaged more than 7,400 visits per month, demonstrating the need for Iowans to be connected to trustworthy, reliable information as they navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Users typically find the site through search engines, libraries, or by being referred from partner organizations, including Senator Chuck Grassley’s office in Washington DC. The senator praised the People’s Law Library to State Librarian Michael Scott when he visited with the senator in March.

“Iowans who contact my office seek information on a number of topics. They deserve thorough, accurate responses. The People’s Law Library is a helpful resource my staff refer Iowans to, so that they get the answers they’re looking for,” Grassley said.

The State Library’s law librarian has also seen a 42 percent increase in reference questions, hearing from more than 1,500 members of the general public, librarians, attorneys, and others. The growth is primarily attributed to the People’s Law Library visitors and the convenient “Ask A Librarian” button that appears on nearly every page of the website.

“We know the law can be intimidating, and being able to offer the People’s Law Library as a resource for easy to understand legal information — especially at no cost — is so important,” said Scott. “You don’t have to create an account or sign up for a membership, you can come to the site, find the information you need, and come back when you have additional questions. We want people to feel empowered about their rights.”

The State Library partners with the University of Iowa Law Library to develop content for the website. Initially, the People’s Law Library offered three legal topic areas: Consumer Law, Family Law, and Housing Law. The website now boasts nine topics, adding Guardianships and Conservatorships, Abuse of Older Persons and Dependent Adults, Public Benefits Programs, Life Planning and Veterans Law.

The newest topic area, Work Law, launched this month. Work Law’s informational pages are organized by stage of the employment process; from before employment, to active employment, and after a job has ended, allowing for easy navigation based on an individual’s unique needs.

Professor Carissa Vogel, Director of the University of Iowa Law Library, emphasized the importance of an entry point to work law: “Work law can be a tangled web of legislation, regulation, and interpretation. The People’s Law Library is designed to provide a starting point for anyone who needs to untangle that web.”

The University of Iowa Law Library continues to work on developing additional legal topics for the website.

Visit and bookmark the People’s Law Library website at www.PeoplesLawIowa.org.