May 5, 2011
Will Washington State Effectively Close Its State Law Library?
Could the Washington State legislature be so short-minded to essentially de-fund the Washington State Law Library in the budget currently under consideration? That seems to be the case if this article in the News Tribune out of Tacoma is true. The current budget for the years 2009-2011 is $4,436,000, and that represents a reduction from previous budget years. It's reported that the Washington House is considering further reductions to $3,260,000 and the Senate proposed appropriation for two years is a mere $1,000,000.
Considering the Law Library pays expenses such as rent, insurance, and utilities to the tune of $450,000 per year, the leftover amount would barely pay for anything of substance. If this is how Washington State legislators think of having a state law library, then what is the point of having one at all?
I have to hope that a budget compromise will come about that adequately funds the Law Library. I'd like to think that this is typical of how budget negotiations start, and with reasonable funding secured in the end. However, these days of what passes for governing and politics, I'm not so sure. I hope this works out for the best. [MG]
This is terrible news. So what kind of mobilization efforts and public awareness campaigns have librarians in WA launched to save the library? Have they engaged their legislators to call attention to the value that librarians and the state law library provide?
Posted by: Jim Cunningham | May 6, 2011 12:51:57 PM
This is pretty heavy stuff. The public do not know how serious this issue is - it's not "sexy" or "tittaling" enough for the news to cover. I run a rural law library in Northern California, and our public libraries are facing full cuts. Even here, there is very little interest in standing up for them. If WA does end up closing it's State Law Library, it will set a domino effect throughout the US. As it is, our State LL is facing even more cuts as well. This is a chiling effect of the loss of access to justice and education especially for those who needed it the most.
Posted by: Kathleen OConnor | May 6, 2011 10:34:12 AM
Thank you for posting this story.
The law librarians of Washington State could not do without the Washington State Law Library.
Posted by: Brenna Louzin | May 6, 2011 8:36:55 AM