We Need Your Help – Why Give
In California, county law libraries are funded almost entirely by a small portion of Superior Court civil filing fees. Over the past ten years, high filing fees, full court dockets, and mandatory arbitration clauses have reduced lawsuit filings in the California courts, resulting in less revenue for county law libraries.
Over the past decade, Alameda County Law Library’s annual filing fee income has dropped by 40%. During this period, the cost of subscribing to legal publications rose over 60%, operational costs continue to rise, and the demand for our services has increased, particularly by non-attorneys.
The library has responded to these alarming trends with proportional reductions in expenditures- closing our Hayward Branch in 2017, and drastically cutting subscriptions and reducing staffing levels. We can no longer rely on court filing fees to sustain essential collections and services.
You can chose to apply your donation to a specific Donor Fund: Extended Hours, Legal Databases, Books, or Public Programming. Detailed descriptions of the funds are available on our Donor Funds page.
Please see the Sponsorship Levels & Donor Recognition page for more information about the benefits of giving.
Who We Serve – Facilitating Access to Justice
Alameda County Law Library empowers Bay Area residents and helps close the access to justice gap in our community by providing equal access to the tools needed to participate in the legal system.
Library visitors enjoy free access to costly legal databases, print treatises, formbooks, encyclopedias on all major legal topics. Professional law librarians are available for personalized research consultations and help using legal databases and websites.
Over half of the library’s users are self-represented litigants, most of whom are low to middle-income and cannot afford attorney services. People come to us in crisis– facing eviction, elder abuse, domestic violence, emergency child custody/support issues, bankruptcy, predatory lending, foreclosure, wrongful employment termination, immigration problems/deportation, and probate disputes, just to name a few. And unlike legal aid organizations, we will help ANYONE with a legal problem. The need for county law libraries has never been greater, particularly for low-income and other vulnerable populations.
The library is also used by solo and small firm attorneys serving modest means clients, and by small business owners.