March 19, 2021
Support Funding for Cali County Law Librariesthey’re even more important during pandemic
I sent a letter to the chairs of the California senate and assembly budget committees today. And I’d encourage other California lawyers to send their own.
Here is what I had to say:
Senator Skinner, Assembly Member Ting:
I write to strongly encourage you and your colleagues to add more funding for county-level law libraries to the next budget, for 2021 to 2022. Californians need their law libraries. Their libraries need more funding. Desperately.
I practice law in Oakland. I’m privileged to serve both paying and pro bono clients. Many of the latter, especially charities working in health, finance, and homeless relief in poor parts of Oakland, have gone into high gear since the onset of pandemic. Their needs have ramped up, among them many legal needs. They have needed more of my kind of help.
I, in turn, have needed more of the Alameda County Law Library’s kind of help. And they have been there for me, by e-mail, quickly and helpfully providing materials, and guidance to materials, that neither I nor my clients could afford alone. I can think of several matters, touching everything from tax to privacy to real estate and corporations law, where we would have simply run aground without timely access to current, relevant treatises, articles, and case law. We would have had to guess, at our peril, or spend money and time we frankly did not have, accessing law and legal materials essential to thousands of other community members and community groups throughout the county.
If our law libraries stock stale, outdated materials, the poor, organizations serving the poor, and lawyers serving those organizations will have stale, outdated, potentially dangerous advice. If our law librarians haven’t the support or staffing to respond quickly to remote inquiries, the poor, their organizations, and their lawyers will be left with questions they cannot answer from home, even online, on time or in many cases at all.
Please, for California’s sake, spend the money. I personally attest to the good, essential, irreplaceable work it does here in Oakland.
Kyle E. Mitchell
Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.
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