The South Bay Branch of the San Diego County Public Law Library will reduce its hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, effective November 30, 2001. The branch is located at the South Bay Regional Center, 500 Third Avenue, Chula Vista, CA. This small change was necessary as part of the overall reduction of expenses that the San Diego County Public Law Library has had to initiate in response to its dwindling income.
The Main Library had previously reduced hours, and all locations have had to cancel subscriptions to make up $145,000 of the $285,000 deficit in funding for the current fiscal year. The Law Library Board of Trustees had accepted a $140,000 deficit in order to avoid closing any facilities.
The Law Library Board of Trustees will re-examine the budget no later than March 2002 to see if the Public Law Library can afford to return the South Bay Branch to full hours or if more cuts will have to be made. Without increased funding, the Board is contemplating closing branches.
The Public Law Library is presently seeking a $3 increase to the law library portion of the initial filing fee in civil court. The fee is currently $196 for general jurisdiction cases and $96 or less for limited jurisdiction cases. The present $26 law library portion provides 90 percent of the Public Law Library's revenues. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors must approve any increase in the law library portion of civil court filing fees before the end of December in order for it to be effective in calendar year 2002.
The Board of Trustees had held off the cutback in hours to the South Bay Branch because its long-time Librarian, Edna Thiel, is scheduled to retire on November 29, 2001. The Public Law Library will be hiring a part-time librarian to replace her temporarily until the decision on the branch's future is made next March.
The Public Law Library is joining with other county law libraries throughout the State to seek a statewide legislative solution to the funding crisis. Anyone interested in further details regarding the Public Law Library, its funding plight, and its lobbying effort is urged to go to its webpage at www.sdcll.org or to contact Library Administration at 1105 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92101-3904, (619) 531-3904.