The System Is Broken
Please SUPPORT US by:
1) filling out and sending this sample letter to Gov. Brown, or
2) go to his website and leave a comment. In the “please choose your subject” box, select “SB0711\Law libraries: charges.” If you wish, you can use this sample language in the comment box.
Thanks for your support.
Where are the Law Librarians?
What happened to the Westlaw database?
Why have Branch hours been reduced?
WE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO SUSTAIN LEGAL RESOURCES AND STAFFING
We don’t like this situation one bit. But declining law library revenue has left us no other choice. In addition to staff cuts, other cuts already made include reduction of hours, cuts in the print collection, and the cancellation of legal databases. Up and down the state, county law libraries are experiencing the same dire circumstances. Some may close completely. We must not allow that to happen in San Diego County!
Since their beginning in 1891, county law libraries have been supported by a small allowance from each superior court’s first case filing fees. In San Diego County, we get $38 for every complaint, answer, and appeal (but not motions or other court filings). For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Funding.
Being dependent on filing fees for our operations has left us vulnerable to budget shortfalls as year after year we must guess how much money we will have to run the library. Filing fee income has fallen by nearly one-third in a three year period. At the same time, the numbers of fee waivers have risen. When people don’t pay their fees, the law library gets nothing.
That is why we are asking for your help.
THE POWER OF CONNECTION
Want to help change this situation?
Use the SAMPLE LANGUAGE to describe your feelings to our elected representatives. You can locate your state representatives and look for their contact info on their website. Most legislatures have a prepared email template for you to contact them. Copy and paste the sample language into the template.
You can follow our step-by-step guide to support SB 711. This bill is important to modernize and clarify the authorizing statute, to eliminate any undue restrictions on revenue-generating activities. Please note that basic law library services will continue to be free to the public. This bill will allow us to try to make some money for our general fund by providing special services.
Make the letter your own by adding your story of how the law library has helped you achieve your personal and professional goals.
See below for legal proposals we are currently bringing to the California Legislature through the Council of California County Law Libraries (CCCLL). Each one of these proposals could have a great impact on our ability to serve the public. But changing the law is never easy. Lawmakers need — and deserve — solid evidence that a change is needed before they will act.
You can give them that evidence. Make an immediate and direct connection. Use our sample language and contact your State Senator and Assembly Member. Please — make those connections today!
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins is sending a representative to the law library every third Tuesday of the month. Please use this opportunity to ask her to support the law library.
POSSIBLE LEGISLATION FOR COUNTY LAW LIBRARIES
The CCCLL Legislative Committee identified the following options and potential opportunities for lobbying and legislative efforts:
- Request supplemental funding to be included in the next state budget
Because the governor’s budget does not include supplemental funding for county law libraries we are reaching out to the legislature for help.
- Allow county law libraries to charge for extraordinary services
Currently county law libraries are forbidden to make money. This would allow us to charge for events, services, even a coffee bar, for extra funds.
- Request the State Bar to collect voluntary contributions from attorneys
This is not a substitute for direct funding because there is no way to estimate how much would be generated in any given year, but it gives county law libraries some potential for relief.
- Defining County Law Libraries as public libraries
This task requires many different interests and funding sources to agree that county law libraries are public libraries and thus eligible for state funding and other financial benefits.
Again, use our SAMPLE LANGUAGE to contact your State Representatives and let them know how much the San Diego Law Library means to you! Ask them to support CCCLL’s and San Diego Law Library’s efforts to secure a stable future income.