The West Feliciana Parish Library announced it is participating in the eighth annual “Lawyers in Libraries” Oct. 25-30, a statewide program in partnership with the Louisiana State Bar Association, the State Library of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Library Association.

On Oct. 29, Chareese "Queen" Haile, of Belle Terre Law Firm L.L.C. will provide a presentation on Family, Consumer Debt, Social Security, and Cannabis law beginning at 1 p.m. at the West Feliciana Parish Library, 5114 Burnett Road, St. Francisville. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., she will be providing free individual consultations on legal issues (30 min each).

Presentations from other attorneys on topical legal issues will be broadcast daily throughout the week via the “LSBA Louisiana Lawyers in Libraries” Facebook page. These programs are free and open to the public. Sign up for individual consultations by calling the library at (225) 635-3364.

Last year, the annual Lawyers in Libraries program went virtual due to COVID-19, with attorneys answering patrons’ questions over the phone instead of face-to-face. Additionally, the program’s first-ever online webinars attracted over 2,500 viewers. This year presents the opportunity for a hybrid model: the webinars will continue to be broadcast statewide via Facebook, and libraries will welcome attorneys inside for workshops and one-on-one consultations with their patrons. A limited number of phone consultations will be available for patrons who are unable or wary of attending in person, a news release said.

“Public libraries are natural starting points for people in search of information and services. Library staff can provide direction to available resources, but not legal advice. The Lawyers in Libraries program is a great benefit to patrons needing legal help, especially in areas without a legal aid office,” said Stacie Davis, director of the West Feliciana Parish Library System.

The attorney-library partnership is a critical one in a state where nearly 20% of the population lives below the federal poverty line, with many more just barely making ends meet, the release said. Many of these people need legal assistance but cannot afford an attorney and are not within driving distance of a free legal aid office. This program allows participants to get answers on a wide range of topics, many of which directly affect their livelihood and quality of life, such as: bankruptcy, collection matters, custody, divorce, evictions, FEMA/disaster benefits, food stamps, foreclosures, housing, Medicaid, Social Security, SSI/SSDI, successions, taxes, wills and more.