Big Changes at East County and South Bay Branches

By Kelly on November 23, 2015//Leave a comment

Big changes are afoot for our East County and South Bay library branches. We will no longer be providing library services at the courthouse branches. Instead, we are partnering with regional public libraries in El Cajon and Chula Vista to provide law library services in their branches. The physical branches in the courthouses will be used to host clinics and perform other community activities. The East County courthouse location will also be the home of our forthcoming legal archive facility.


This decision is the end result of several ongoing trends. First, law library revenue has fallen nearly 40% since the 2009 fiscal year. This caused the library to shrink full-time staff from 32 down to 19. Second, foot traffic in East County and South Bay branches declined precipitously after civil cases were consolidated at the Downtown Courthouse three years ago. Third, we are partnering with two vibrant community libraries so we can reach the people who don’t come the courthouses. This is already proving to be a success. Our weekly Thomas Jefferson Law School clinic moved from the courthouse to the El Cajon public library and attendance has doubled.


Stay tuned for more information about these exciting partnerships.

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  1. Edward Teyssier

    Consolidating with the regional public libraries makes a lot of sense. It should save money, but it could also make the law library’s products more available to the public because public libraries are open more hours than are the law libraries. Also, because of computers and the internet the whole nature of a “library” is changing. And, especially, changing in ways so that it makes less sense to have so much ‘brick and motar’ and fixed physical plant versus having research material available via computer.

  2. Suzanne Ramriez

    I often wondered why this was not done before since the reduced hours in the South Bay make it most difficult to access when needed.
    When is this programmed to happen in Chula Vista? Will the collection here now be moved en toto to the Civic Center branch?

    • Gina

      Yes, we realize the restricted hours at the branches were difficult for patrons, but with limited staff we were doing the best we could to stay open. We’ve been in negotiations for several months with the Chula Vista Public and El Cajon Public Libraries, since we are different agencies there’s a lot of coordination that needs to happen to make this a successful venture. We are hoping to be in the public libraries in February of 2016, but watch our website and enews for the most up to date information. Unfortunately the entire collection will not be moved, as much of it is out of date and we do not have the funds to update the collection. That is why we are working so hard with our database vendors and IT people to come up with a way to offer the databases, which have the most current legal info, at the public libraries. As you may know, our funding has deceased by approximately 40% over the past 5 years. We hope these new partnerships will help the community with access to legal information while being more cost effective.

  3. Ray Lutz

    This is a good move. However, I would still like to see the free legal clinics made available and promoted more heavily. It will be very important to make Lexus/Nexis access available free to the public at those public libraries. Would like to see the public libraries open more too.

    • Gina

      Thanks for your comments. We are currently in negotiations with our database providers to see if we can offer the legal databases at the El Cajon and Chula Vista public libraries. Since they are open longer hours, this would allow for more access to legal information.

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