Preservation of Florida Law Libraries
Miami Dade County Law Library
Florida State Court & County Law Libraries, Inc.
More Info at:
URGE YOUR LEGISLATORS TO RESTORE FILING FEES
Today, Floridas county law libraries provide a system of equitable, efficient and comprehensive access to legal information and resources for our business and legal communities, and, most importantly, for the general public. They serve to meet a diverse range of legal research needs from the judiciary, corporate and government attorneys, solo practitioners, average citizens and the indigent. The physical collections and online services available through these libraries, as well as the professional knowledge and expertise of law librarians, contribute to making county law libraries essential partners in the delivery of justice.
Access to the Courts and thus justice, is denied if the public cannot avail itself of legal information. Only public law libraries can provide the public with free, accurate and up to date legal information which is essential in our society embedded with complex laws and systems. The Honorable Gill S. Freeman, Circuit Court Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida
County law libraries provide access for their communities to specialized collections of print and electronic legal resources. Knowledgeable staff provide reference assistance and training in legal research so that these collections are not only accessible, but are understandable and user friendly. At a time when more and more members of the public are representing themselves in court, our county law libraries serve as vital gateways to our legal system.Janis L. Johnston, President, American Association of Law Libraries
Unfortunately, the future of Floridas county law libraries is very much at risk today. Legislation enacted last June (2003 Florida Laws Ch. 402) eliminates the filing fee revenues that have historically ensured a sustainable funding model for county law libraries. Public law libraries were not recognized as being essential services in the legislation, even though they are essential to ensuring equitable access to the law for all citizens. Unless legislation is adopted to correct this oversight, the new law will become effective on July 1, 2004, irreparably destroying the statewide system of county law libraries and creating an egregious barrier to public access to the law.
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, join together in urging members of the Florida legislature to amend H.B. 0113A, Florida Chapter 2003-402, to reinstate filing fees for the continued, sustained funding of Floridas county law libraries. We look forward to working with members of the legislature to ensure that the public value of county law libraries in Florida is preserved.