Ask the Lawyer Request Form

RAQs: Recently Asked Questions


"Ask the Lawyer" was developed and piloted by the Western New Library Resources Council in 2016, and is now a service to members of all nine regional library councils in New York. All "Ask the Lawyer" answers are the copyright of author Stephanie Adams. This service, and its content, are in service of the missions of New York State's libraries. Reproduction of this content, other than for internal use by a council member organization, can only be done with permission. For all other inquiries to reproduce this content, please write to the hosting library council, who will reach out to the author, or write "Ask the Lawyer" is a trademark of the Empire State Library Network whose members include the Western New York Library Resources Council and the eight other participating library councils: Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Southeastern New York Library Resources Council. WNYLRC provides, at no cost to members, the Ask the Lawyer service. To request the service, members must complete the "Ask the Lawyer Request Form".  Members should provide as much information as possible on the issue to ensure the attorney has the information needed to fully answer the member library's inquiry. Member libraries also have the ability to upload documents that might be helpful in assisting the attorney who is reviewing the issue.


Please be sure you are using the correct Council form before proceeding since each Council is invoiced individually for the service. The "Ask the Lawyer" service is funded by each participating Council. The RAQs on the WNYLRC website is a compilation of answers collectively paid for by the following councils: CDLC, CLRC, SENYLRC, SCRLC, LILRC, METRO, NNYLN, RRLC, WNYLRC.


Please note: Members should check the RAQ section first before completing the form. Another member may have already asked the same question! If you are a school or public library, please check first with your library system before submitting an inquiry.  Your system may already have the information you need.


Submitting a question via the Ask the Lawyer Request Form is not a guarantee that your inquiry will be answered by the attorney. Answers will be provided at the Council's discretion and within our budget. Questions sent to "Ask the Lawyer'' service will first be reviewed by a Council staff member.


If your inquiry is appropriate for the service, then the attorney will be contacted to formulate a response to your inquiry.  However, if the Council staff feels the inquiry is asking for a specific legal nuance to an existing RAQ, or if the inquiry is specific to your institution, we may recommend that your institution contract directly with the Ask the Lawyer attorney. 


Responses and answers may be provided in several formats:


  • a memo shared with all members if the issue is pertinent to more than one member

  • a training session if the issue is pertinent to a group of members or type of members

  • an addition to the Legal RAQs on the WNYLRC web site

  • a memo shared only with the member requesting the information and the Council service liaison who manages the service


Please keep in mind: the "Ask the Lawyer" service is not legal representation of your organization. Always alert officers at your institution if a lawsuit is threatened, or if a matter is so specific or critical that your own institution's attorney should be involved. And yes -- you can always "Ask the Lawyer," if you don't know if a particular issue hits that threshold!


About Our Attorney

The service is staffed by Buffalo attorney Stephanie ("Cole") Adams, who first developed a deep connection to libraries working as a page, then clerk, at her hometown library in New Hartford, NY. Ms. Adams went on to work at the libraries of her Alma Maters, Hampshire College, and SUNY Buffalo School of Law. She served for over 10 years as the in-house counsel at Niagara University, in Niagara Falls, NY. An attorney admitted to practice in both the state and federal courts of New York, Ms. Adams has extensive experience with the issues confronting information professionals. Ms. Adams works closely with WNYLRC and other library Councils to craft useful replies to member library questions.


RAQs: Recently Asked Questions

The "Ask the Lawyer" service is available to members of WNYLRC. It is not legal representation of individual members.


Please complete the form and provide as much information as possible on the issue; but remember, you are jointly seeking the service with WNYLRC.


If you have documentation that would assist the attorney in answering your inquiry, you may upload files at the bottom of this form.


*Please note that the form cannot be saved and must be completed in one sitting.


Updated 1/15/2021

RAQs: Recently Asked Questions

The WNYLRC's "Ask the Lawyer" service is available to members of the Western New York Library Resources Council. It is not legal representation of individual members.