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Former Law Librarian Cautions -- Poetically -- Against Blind Faith in Free Internet Research

Via a link on the New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term's Law Library Blog, I came across a very well done parable authored by Jonathan Stock, who retired last year as supervising law librarian for the Connecticut Judicial Branch in Stamford.

Stock's "Chambers of the Sea: Who Needs Law Libraries? It's All Free on the Internet." was published in the July issue of the AALL Spectrum. The piece, available here (.pdf), tells the tale of a people living in a utopian community known as Blissful, which is located in the State of Innocence, whose citizens rally to save their public law libraries just in the nick of time. I'm not going to be able to do it justice, and it's short, so just go read it. It suffices to say I think Stock's message is a good one: When threatened with the shutdown of taxpayer-funded law libraries, citizens shouldn't be complacent and simply trust that the benevolent owners of "Great Big Search" will live up to their commitment to provide legal research materials free of charge in perpetuity.

Stock's piece was not woven from whole cloth, as Connecticut is faced with just such threatened closures of its court libraries. Stock testified (.pdf) in support of a Connecticut House bill to limit library closures, and, while the bill is listed as having been tabled, based on the state judiciary website, it appears as though some of the facilities originally slated to be shuttered have survived to date.

Posted by Eric Lipman on July 20, 2010 at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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