ARCHIVED: Reconsideration of Decision to Veto Funding for the "Electronic Doorway Library Services Program"

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May 21, 1998

Honorable George E. Pataki
Governor, New York State
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

Dear Governor Pataki:

The purpose of my writing to you today on behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries is to follow up on our letter of April 30, 1998 (a copy of which is attached), that urged your full support for S. 2628-A and A. 4321-B, the Electronic Doorway Library Services legislation. In order for this important program to succeed, the Assembly and Senate this year agreed to a total of $3 million for its operations in the coming fiscal year. We were very disappointed to learn recently of your decision to veto this very modest level of funding for the program and we respectfully ask that you reconsider your decision.

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. We join the Law Library Association of Greater New York (LLAGNY), one of our thirty chapters, in urging you to reverse your decision and to adequately fund the Electronic Doorway Library Services.

The Electronic Doorway Library Services is a model program that will bring the countless benefits of the electronic age to all New Yorks State citizens through their schools, libraries, offices and homes. The $2 million appropriated in each of the past two years has enabled the program to get off the ground, ensuring that New York state taxpayers have equal access to the broad and ever growing array of electronic resources and services that are today a vital component of all library collections.

Access to the wealth of electronic information available through the Internet is a public good that will improve the lives of all citizens in New York State. With proper funding, the Electronic Doorway Library Services program will result in improved learning and research opportunities at all educational levels, including for lifelong learning; in measurable economic gains at the state and community levels; and very importantly, in a more engaged citizenry, anxious to learn about how their government works and how their laws are made. At the same time, the program recognizes increased opportunities and cost savings for all libraries within the state to enter into cooperative arrangements for networking and resource sharing of electronic information.

Governor Pataki, with so many important tangible benefits that will result from the continued level of funding for the Electronic Doorway Library Services program, we urge you to reconsider your veto and to provide the requested $3 million to support this excellent program during the coming fiscal year. To do otherwise would be a step backwards, reversing the excellent progress this noteworthy and important program has provided during the past two years.

Thank you very much for your prompt consideration of this very important matter. Continued funding for the Electronic Doorway Library Services program will determine the ability of the citizens of New York State to benefit fully from the enormous opportunities of the electronic information age as we enter the new millennium.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Oakley
American Association of Law Libraries
Washington Affairs Representative

cc:

Honorable Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly, New York Assembly
Honorable Joseph L. Bruno, President Pro Tem/Majority Leader, New York Senate
Honorable Martin A. Luster, Chairperson, Libraries and Education Technology Committee, New York Assembly
Honorable Hugh T. Farley, Member of the Finance Committee, New York Senate