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Commissioners grant residents public access to legal database

MIFFLINTOWN – Residents of Juniata County now have free access to the legal database offered within LexisNexis following action taken Tuesday by the Juniata County Commissioners.

The commissioners approved a contract between the county and LexisNexis for legal reference subscription services that includes the placement of a personal computer at the Juniata County Library with access to the public.

“Code mandates that the county have a law library,” District Attorney Corey Snook explained Tuesday. “We once had a set of books but space became an issue and the cost to update them was an issue as well. Putting a computer terminal in the library is a very good solution. It’s important to have an updated law library.”

According to information provided by Juniata County Library Director Vince Giordano, researchers can quickly and easily search and access full-text documents from over 17,000 credible sources of information and pinpoint relevant legal content for a wide range of research projects.

“This offers a lot of resources for free,” Giordano pointed out. “It offers access to tens of thousands of documents, both locally and U.S.-based going back a couple hundred years.”

Giordano said users can access comprehensive, authoritative news content, including current coverage and deep archives, as well as extensive legal sources for federal and state cases and statutes, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1790. The content can be shared, emailed and downloaded. For those wishing hard copies of information, printing cost is 25 cents per page.

“The data base is very easy to use,” Giordano continued. “It’s very similar to how you use Google. I think it’s an appropriate placement at the library. I’ve worked at other libraries that didn’t have anything like this. To make it public at the library is a great service. It’s up and running as of yesterday.”

Commissioner Mark Partner noted the computer-based law library will represent a significant amount of cost savings, as well as convenience.

“I think it’s important to note that with paper it was running about $1,000 a month and staffing became an issue,” Partner noted.

According to the three-year agreement with Lexis Nexis, the county will pay $250 per month through March 31, 2017, $257.50 per month from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, and $265.23 per month from April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

Approved a purchase of service agreement between the county and Nancy Schrum, Esquire, for public defender services for fiscal year 2016.

Approved Chelsea Bender to serve as an unpaid intern in the Juniata County Children and Youth Services Department from May 16 to Aug. 10.

Adopted a resolution designating Chairwoman Alice Gray to serve as “Environmental Review Certifying Officer.” County Administrator Jim Bahorik said the resolution is strictly for administrative purposes to designate an official to sign off on certain SEDA-Council of Governments documents on an as-needed basis.

Ratified a CDBG Home Housing Rehab Project check in the amount of $3,735 to BCE Construction for a housing rehab project.

Approved payment of bills in the amount of $29,850.46.

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