SAVE THE HARTFORD SUPERIOR COURT LIBRARY

Connecticut's Executive Branch has cut $12.9 million in the budget for the Judicial Branch, forcing the proposed closure of six law libraries across the state including the Hartford Superior Court Library.

These courthouse libraries 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 Connecticut’s court law libraries essential partners in the delivery of justice. 

Connecticut’s fifteen Judicial libraries annually receive an average of 480,000 web site visits, 250,000 walk-in visits, and staff answer a total of approximately 42,000 reference questions.  These statistics demonstrate that our court law libraries are unique and essential.
 
The proposed closure of the Hartford Superior Court Library is especially alarming because Hartford has the largest caseload in the state, as well as the highest number of judges assigned to that judicial district.  Library users depend upon Hartford’s current and historic legal materials in all formats, and they value the court librarian for her unique knowledge and expertise.

Closure of this library will have a serious negative impact on pro se litigants who rely on the law library to gain access to legal materials they need to defend themselves in court.  While we understand the dire budgetary circumstances that the state currently faces, it is essential that the Hartford Superior Court Library remain open.  It is indispensable to the city’s residents.

“The practice of law in Connecticut would certainly be hurt by the closing of these libraries. Why should the self-represented be put at a disadvantage because only selective districts provide reasonable access to a law library? Why should the small firm or solo practitioner be put at a disadvantage in their access to information that is necessary to fairly represent their client? Why should those judges, lawyers and litigants working in courthouses without a local law library be put at a disadvantage when doing research, or when at trial?

Pro se litigants, small firm attorneys and solo practitioners rely heavily on the courthouse law library’s resources. Legal research needs to be done accurately to be effective. If individuals do not have access to the materials they need, or can't get to the resources in a reasonable time, they are put at a severe disadvantage in getting fair representation under the legal system.”

Nancy Marcove, President of the Southern New England Law Librarians Association

The American Association of Law Libraries and the Southern New England Law Librarians Association urge residents of Connecticut to join our efforts to save the Hartford Superior Court Library, slated for closure by July 1, 2010. Time is of the essence and we ask that you please add your name to the petition below.

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, join together in urging members of the Connecticut legislature to provide the Judicial Branch with adequate funding to keep the Hartford Superior Court Library open, and we urge the Chief Court Administrator to reconsider her decision to close this library.  It is crucial that the public value of the Hartford Superior Court Library is recognized and preserved to ensure equitable access to the law for all.

Thank you.

Sponsor

The American Association of Law Libraries and the Southern New England Law Librarians Association

Links

http://www.aallnet.org/
www.aallnet.org/chapter/snella/

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