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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

AALL Government Relations Policy

Thank you, James, for the opportunity to guest blog. I look forward to sharing information and telling stories. We’ll see how September unfolds.

In July, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Executive Board approved a new Government Relations Policy. The policy covers the dissemination of government information, as well as intellectual property, privacy, and preservation. I hope to blog about some of these issues in the future, but reading through revised policy, I was most pleased to see a new section (Section VII) on support for law libraries. AALL calls for adequate funding for the FDLP and state depository programs, as it always has, but there is a new emphasis on strong support for public law libraries, including state, courthouse, county, and local libraries.

I’ve spent 20 years at an academic law library that is open to the public. We have a public mission, as a state institution and as a depository library. We provide reference services, and print and electronic collections to the public, which includes self-represented persons. But our primary purpose is to support the research and curricular needs of the University of Washington School of Law faculty and students. Although we serve many people without lawyers, it’s the public law libraries of our state and region, most notably the King County Law Library, that are truly on the front lines of providing access to justice. These important, and often fragile, parts of our government and legal information ecosystem deserve strong support.