The San Francisco Law Library
, the first in the state, is at risk of being closed due to lack of funding. If this can happen in literate, progressive San Francisco to an institution that is 140 years old, it can happen anywhere in the State of California. Are your alarm bells ringing? There is a pattern here, as the resources that we depend on for our democratic way of life--the free flow of information, educational institutions and quality journalism are receiving diminishing support. Just go to the internet, we're advised.
In addition to doing personal and organizational research, I have frequently referred members of California Lawyers for the Arts to the law library to find the answers to their inquiries about legal issues. To cite one extraordinary example, I encouraged the late Jo Hanson, an artist who was concerned with a tax audit, to go to our public law library in order to research relevant tax regulations and rulings. She used her findings to write a unique book, which was sold nationally, to help artists prevent and prepare for IRS audits.
Many solo practitioners, small law firms and non-profit legal services organizations like CLA depend on our public law library to maintain updated reference materials and subscription services that we cannot afford. The resources that are otherwise available on the internet are scarcely comparable. Furthermore, you cannot do the kind of in-depth reading and research which is needed to resolve complicated questions through internet browsing. Authenticity of randomly linked sources is often unverifiable.
CLA's board of directors voted a resolution in support of adequate financing for the San Francisco Law Library at our last meeting on June 2. If you are concerned, please write to members of the San Francisco Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to ask for their support for adequate funding for the library. It's a democratic cause.
Alma Robinson, Executive Director
California Lawyers for the Arts