April 30, 1998
Honorable George E. Pataki
Governor, New York State
Albany, New York 12224
Attention: James McGuire, Counsel
Dear Governor Pataki:
I am writing to you today on behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries to urge your support for S. 2628-A and A. 4321-B, the Electronic Doorway Library Services legislation, that will bring the tremendous benefits of the electronic age to all citizens of New York State. Indeed, this legislation is so finely crafted to expand the array of electronic networked information available through the system of statewide libraries for access in schools and universities, offices and homes, that we hope that it will serve as a model for other states to emulate.
The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a nonprofit educational organization headquartered in Chicago with nearly 5,000 members nationwide, of whom 612 work and reside in New York State. Our members respond to the legal and governmental information needs of legislators, judges, and other public officials at all levels of government, corporations and small businesses, law professors and students, attorneys, and members of the general public. The Law Library Association of Greater New York (LLAGNY) has already written to you in support of this legislation, and I would like to add our collective voice to theirs in applauding your efforts to create and fund Electronic Doorway Library Services.
I would like to comment briefly on a few specific provisions of your proposed legislation that deserve special commendation:
- First, this bill builds upon the principles of equitable, low-cost and ready access to information for all state residents, including that created and disseminated by federal, state and local governments. AALL upholds these principles as critical to our democratic society, lifelong learning and the economic well-being of our nation. It will ensure that New York state taxpayers have equal access to the broad and ever growing array of electronic resources and services available through their local library.
- Second, it recognizes the important leadership roles of the New York State Library and the New York Public Library, and appropriately provides additional funding for both institutions. At the same time, it recognizes increased opportunities for all libraries within the state, including law libraries, to enter into cooperative arrangements for networking and resource sharing of electronic information.
Third, it values the important role of libraries and librarians in organizing information; in developing cataloging and locator services to help users find the electronic information they need; in providing training programs in the use of new technologies, including assistance for those with disabilities; and, very importantly, in developing plans for the preservation of electronic information.
- And fourth, it appropriates nearly $11.5 million to begin developing the Electronic Doorway Library Services during the first fiscal year, of which $9 million will be allocated through an equitable grants program. It further provides for annual state aid to continue adequate funding levels for this project.
Governor Pataki, I urge you to support S. 2628-A and A. 4321-B and to help move this excellent legislation towards final enactment. This legislation will provide enormous benefits to all citizens of New York State by providing ready and equitable access to electronic information through Electronic Doorway Library Services. It will enhance their daily lives and improve their opportunities for lifelong learning and participation in the activities of their state government.
As I write to you today, I am also sending similar letters urging passage of these bills on behalf of our association to Senator Hugh T. Farley and Assemblyman Martin A. Luster, the sponsors of these bills, and to other appropriate members of the Senate and the Assembly. Thank you in advance for your support for this important legislation. It will improve public access to electronic information though the Electronic Doorway Library Services and it values the important role that this endeavor rightfully accords New York State libraries and librarians.
Robert L. Oakley
American Association of Law Libraries
Washington Affairs Representative