San Francisco Law Library and Friends Challenge City’s Relocation Plan

By , May 20, 2013 3:47 pm

by Tal Noznisky
The San Francisco Law Library is facing a less than desirable relocation. Scheduled for eviction from its current location, it has stayed put by challenging the legal grounds of the city’s plan. Last month, however, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance subcommittee approved a decision to grant the library 20,000 square feet, significantly less than the 30,000—35,000 requested.

San Francisco Law Library

According to San Francisco’s City Charter, the library must be allotted adequate space for its collection of 250,000 books. All of those books and print materials, argued the library and its supporters, are essential, costly, and potentially unattainable.

The Law Library currently lives at the War Veterans Memorial Building, across the street from City Hall. It landed there almost 20 years ago as a temporary arrangement. The Memorial Building location only has 14,310 sq. ft. Two-thirds of the library’s collection must be stored in a nearby basement facility. When the city secured funds to renovate the Memorial Building in 2010, finding a sustainable storage and location solution became urgent.The Law Library is currently awaiting a judge’s decision on whether it may remain at its current location until some significant issues are permanently resolved. Though the city-approved 20,000 sq. ft. would seem like an improvement, Jon Streeter, another supportive voice from San Francisco’s legal community, disagrees. “It is not a matter of a stack of old dusty books being warehoused somewhere,” he said, “It is a matter of providing basic access to the courthouse to the public.”

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