Thank you to everyone who wrote letters of support to your representatives and the Governor. This new law, Senate Bill 711, enables libraries to charge for modern services to defray costs. It received bi-partisan support and had no opposition.
Senate Bill 711 adds services such as electronic delivery and other delivery services, educational programs, special events, and provision of supplies or food services to the list of services for which county law libraries are authorized to provide and charge. “County law libraries are not supported by state or local tax dollars, and continue to experience diminishing operations revenues. In fact, over the past 5 years county law libraries have seen a nearly 32 percent decrease in revenue,” Senator Wolk, the bill’s sponsor, said. “This new law won’t solve this funding shortfall, but it will enable libraries to recover the costs of providing some of these services to the public and insulate them from lawsuits alleging they have no authority to charge a fee for these services.”
The new law also defines county law libraries as public libraries, allowing the State Librarian to work with county law libraries and create partnerships among libraries throughout the state. Although there is no change in the way county law libraries are funded, county law libraries are now eligible to apply for state library grants.