To: The Honorable Steve Ogden, Chair
Senate Finance Committee
The Honorable John Otto,co-Chair
House Appropriations Committee
Date: February 14, 2011
Re: Funding of the Texas State Law Library
The proposed de-funding of the Texas State Law Library would result in the closure of an institution of inestimable value to the citizens of Texas. We petitioners believe the harm caused by such closing would far outweigh the cost of continuing this service to Texas state courts and agencies and to the citizens of Texas statewide, and we respectfully request your reconsideration of this issue.
The State of Texas Law Library is a very special public institution. Unlike other law libraries in Texas (e.g., university and county libraries that serve a specific client base), the unique mission of the Texas State Law Library is to serve all Texans statewide who have legal research needs and to assist the state courts and agencies of Texas. In addition, the Library's staff has the expertise to assist untrained clients, such as students and laypersons, in the effective use of its materials, which cannot always be easily obtained elsewhere. In fact, the Library supports all researchers, including private attorneys, paralegal students, non-profit organizations, prisoners, and pro se litigants. It is the only public library in Texas that offers this level of assistance to all who seek it while providing access to an incredibly wide array of legal materials. In addition, the Library's staff handles hundreds of questions referred by state agencies (with neither the staff nor resources to answer them) that relate to the legal rights of citizens. Finally, the Library provides all these services and more, efficiently and at a reasonable cost.
As a consequence, we, the undersigned students, educators, attorneys, and citizens, join together in respectfully asking the Texas Legislature to provide sufficient funding for the Texas State Law Library to ensure its continued service to this state and its citizenry, including the state's legal and business communities, thereby enabling the Library to more equitably promote the administration of justice in the State of Texas.
cc: Sen. Kirk Watson
Rep. Jim Pitts
Petition circulated by Austin Community College Paralegal Association,
Christopher S. Suarez, Vice President/Chair-Public Relations Committee