Why are the Branches Changing?
Exciting new changes are coming to our El Cajon and Chula Vista locations!
Our El Cajon and Chula Vista Courthouse locations will cease regular operations and be repurposed for workshops and clinics. While our regular law library services will move to the El Cajon and Chula Vista public libraries. Our Downtown and Vista law library locations remain the same. Read about our New Partnerships & New Locations!
Why are we doing this?
NEW BEGINNING IN LIBRARY OPERATIONS — This is the beginning of a new era, not the end of one. This move reflects a paradigm shift in library services that is happening world-wide – moving away from putting all the importance on the place, but instead emphasizing that services we provide (wherever we may be) can be provided anywhere. It’s the digital age!
WE AREN’T CLOSING ANYTHING — The branch isn’t “closing” – it is being repurposed to help bring more workshops and clinics to the community through partnerships with legal aid organizations. Our East County Courthouse branch will also act as our archive facility giving us an opportunity to highlight our unique historical materials. While regular library services are moving to the public library, exciting new things are happening at our courthouse locations. In reality, we are able to touch more people in need of legal information by repurposing the courthouse branch locations and joining with the public libraries.
IT’S FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE – Law library revenues have fallen nearly 40% since 2008, and we aren’t expecting it to come back. From 32 full time equivalent staff, we have shrunk to 19. We still get the job done, but we have to be very selective about where we put our resources. Once civil matters were consolidated downtown, foot traffic at these branches went away. We want to use staff, databases, and our print materials to maximum advantage. That means going where the people are.
IT WILL HELP MORE PEOPLE – Bottom line, our mission is to serve the people of this county in their search for legal information, whether they are lawyers or pro ses. You might think that being at the courthouse meant lots of lawyers were in the law library; not so. With the consolidation of civil matters downtown, so went all the civil attorneys. Without civil attorneys or pro se litigants at either branch, our purpose (providing access to the law) was frustrated. Moving to the public libraries means moving to where we will find people who never would have stepped foot inside a courthouse. Already our weekly Thomas Jefferson Law School incubator clinic has transitioned to the El Cajon public library with great success, doubling the number of its clients. This means we have a new opportunity to bring civics instruction to young and old; help people find the law for learning about basic constitutional rights; bring greater awareness about the legislative process; provide access to resources about family law, elder law, landlord-tenant disputes, and on and on. Also, by partnering with the public libraries we are able to expand our hours and provide more access to legal databases and information for the general public and our attorney community.
WE ARE FULFILLING OUR MISSION – The mission of the San Diego Law Library is to bring the law to the public. We cannot attempt to reach for this goal any better than by placing ourselves in the middle of the most diverse, populous, and curious group of people in the county: patrons of our public libraries.