"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Whither the law library?

Things are moving around these days in the Idaho capitol mall, not limited to the shifting resulting from the Statehouse renovation. A bill just passed without opposition in the Idaho Senate touches on one of those: Moving the state law library.

The bill itself (Senate Bill 1271) is innocuous; the statement of purpose “provides that the State Law Library will continue to be in Boise, but removes the requirement that it be located in either the State Capitol or the Supreme Court building. This will allow greater flexibility and efficiency in the use of the Supreme Court building and open up additional options for housing the State Law Library.”

The library has for decades been located in state Supreme Court building, has been ever since that building was built. The plan now apparently is to move the state Court of Appeals into the first-floor space where the law library has been. That court has been renting nearby private space for years; the shift makes sense.

But where will the law library go? That’s a little unclear. There’s some talk that, for a while anyway, it may be packed up and stored (an odd prospect). There are options. One we heard suggests moving it to the old Ada County courthouse after the state legislature moves back to the renovated Statehouse; a nice thought.

Is the state law library needed? It is. It provides a core base of legal information and resources not just for attorneys but for others as well (we’ve gotten plenty of use out of it, and other public law libraries in the region, for years). In passing this new bill on the library (the House presumably will soon pass it as well), the Idaho Legislature has a kind of moral obligation to track its progress, wherever in Boise it may go.

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