NORWOOD – The Norwood Morrill Memorial Library and the Massachusetts Trial Court announced Monday the launch of a first-of-its-kind program where a public library will partner with the court to provide the public with access to virtual court resources and services at the library.
Tony Mazzucco, Norwood General Manager; Clayton Cheever, Morrill Memorial Library Director; Colleen Brierley, Norfolk County Register of Probate; Jay Fielding, Assistant Register, Norfolk Probate & Family Court; Charles Bogan, Deputy Assistant Register, Norfolk Probate & Family Court; Brianna Whelan, Legislative Aid to Rep. John Rogers; and members of the Trial Court’s Access to Justice office gathered at Morrill Memorial Library Monday to introduce the program and share how it is expected to impact Norwood and the surrounding communities.
The program, a Massachusetts Trial Court Access to Justice initiative, provides visitors with access to computer terminals and the internet to search for court resources, such as interpreter services, legal aid, case information and more. Additionally, visitors are able to contact the virtual court help desk, use library computers and printers to access and print court forms, and use designated, private library spaces for virtual court hearings.
Norwood was chosen because it is centrally located for many of the towns in Norfolk County and is easily accessed by public bus routes.
“Libraries are essential to our communities. They provide a welcoming, inclusive and easily accessible place for community members to access a wide variety of information and tools, and are open during days and hours that extend beyond the normal business day,” Director Cheever said. “Everyone should have equal access to important resources and services like those offered by the court system, and we are pleased to be doing our part to deliver these services locally to help meet the needs of our community members.”
“We’re excited to bring virtual court services to local communities to increase accessibility to our courts,” said Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Locke and Court Administrator John Bello. “We look forward to expanding this initiative to more library locations throughout the state and hope that the central location of libraries, such as in Norwood, will afford greater access to court services statewide.”
Those with cases in Norfolk County and other counties are also able to access the Probate and Family Court’s virtual registries and services.
Probate and Family Court Chief Justice John D. Casey and Deputy Court Administrator Domenic Dicenso said, “We strongly support the collaboration of the Norwood General Manager and the Massachusetts Trial Court to provide free and equal access to those persons who face technical and/or logistical challenges when seeking the assistance of the Massachusetts Trial Court. We at the Probate and Family Court have seen first-hand the barriers some people face accessing the internet, a printer, a computer or even a safe, quiet place to conduct court business. We hope this collaboration and utilization of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood will be the beginning of a much larger effort to bring access to justice to all citizens of Massachusetts.”
“I am dedicated to the success of the access to justice program between the Probate and Family Court and the Morrill Memorial Library,” said Colleen Brierley, Norfolk County Register of Probate. “I am committed to ensuring equal access to the court for all members of the public, including self-represented litigants, those of limited or no English proficiency, and individuals with mental or physical disabilities. The pandemic made all of us more reliant on technology and this Access to Justice Initiative helps those with limited, or no access to that technology. The entire Norfolk Probate Registry is prepared for the launch of the program and we are ready to help through the Virtual Registry and in-person at the library as needed.”
“During the pandemic, so many aspects of our daily lives were conducted virtually, which in turn demonstrated how crucial connectivity and reliable access to technology are,” General Manager Mazzucco said. “We are excited to be the first town in the state to offer virtual court services at our public library, and we are proud to be working with the Trial Court and Norfolk Probate and Family Court to increase access to these services. We look forward to seeing how this innovative program benefits people across Norfolk County.”
The Morrill Memorial Library is open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 2-5 p.m. Information regarding resources offered via the library is available on the library’s website by clicking here.
Those with questions about the offered resources or who would like to make an appointment to get extra help can contact the library at 781-769-0200.