April 23, 2002
Mr. Michael Burke
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building
1 Columbus Circle, N.E.
Washington, DC 20544
Dear Mr. Burke,
I write to you today on behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries to request that the Administrative Office consider providing public access to The Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures through the Internet. The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a nonprofit educational organization with over 5000 members nationwide. Our mission is to support and serve our members, to promote and enhance the value of law libraries, to foster law librarianship and to provide leadership and advocacy in legal information and information policy. AALL members work in nearly 1900 libraries serving government officials, the bench, the bar, legal scholars and the public. We are committed to the principle that the availability of legal and government information to all people is a necessary requirement for a just and democratic society.
My understanding is that The Guide is currently available only electronically through the federal judiciary's intranet. Given the importance of this title to the scholarly and legal community, as well as to the general public, providing The Guide through your public web site makes good sense at a time when agencies throughout government are relying on the Internet to make more information broadly available to the public. Many courts throughout the nation in fact provide Internet access to some portions of The Guide, and court librarians and AO staff have always been very accommodating about sharing information from The Guide upon request. However, given the importance and practical nature of The Guide to the legal community, it would seem advantageous to the courts to make the entire resource available through the judiciary's public web site.
I urge you, on behalf of the more than 5000 members of the American Association of Law Libraries, to consider seriously this request. We believe that improved access to this important title will result in a greater public awareness of the role of the federal court system and will benefit the judiciary. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
Robert L. Oakley
Washington Affairs Representative
American Association of Law Libraries