Enrollment is Open for Law Library’s 2012-2013 Practitioners Program

May 4, 2012

The new Program Year will commence on July 1, 2012. For renewals, payment of the enrollment fee is required upon receipt of the completed application by the Law Library and is due no later than July 31, 2012. Failure to make timely payment will result in the denial of Practitioners Program privileges until payment is made.

Details about the Program and enrollment forms are available here. For additional information, please contact Julie Sandlin, Public Services Associate at 513-887-3455 or e-mail.

Butler County Law Library Resources Board Launches Practitioners Program

June 8, 2010

On June 2, 2010, the Butler County Law Library Resources Board unanimously approved the creation of the Law Library Practitioners Program. Taking effect on July 1, 2010, the Program replaces the Board’s temporary and free extension of the Butler County Law Library Association’s membership benefits that expires on June 30, 2010.

The Law Library Practitioners Program provides library privileges and services similar to benefits provided to members of the Library Association. Library privileges include use of library computers for online legal research, Internet access and productivity software applications, reduced fees for print-outs and photocopies, and after-hours access to the county law library.

The annual enrollment fee schedule is identical to what Library Association membership dues were. Service fees and their discounts remain unchanged. Statutory users are exempt from the Program’s enrollment fee and library services charges.

Details including Enrollment Application on the Law Library’s website here.

The Butler County Law Library Enters a New Era

January 3, 2010

Effective January 1, 2010, the Butler County Law Library Resources Board (Board) is responsible for the operation of the Butler County Law Library, replacing the Butler County Law Library Association in this role pursuant to Am. Sub. H.B. 420 (127th General Assembly), codified at Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 307.51 et seq. In addition to traditional county law library operations, the Board will also “manage the coordination, acquisition, and utilization of legal resources” within county government.

In a series of meeting conducted in 2009, the Board decided to continue the Butler County Law Library Association’s practice of financing with statutory funds, legal resources provided to Butler County’s Court of Common Pleas, General Division and the County’s Domestic Relations Court. The Board has also decided to finance the purchase of legal resources requested by the Office of the Butler County Board of Commissioners, the Office of the Prosecutor of Butler County, the County’s Juvenile Justice Center and additional materials requested by the General Division of the Court of Common Pleas. All Board decisions become effective January 1, 2010 and are subject to available funding. The estimated cost savings to county offices and courts in 2010 by the Board’s actions is approximately $60,000.

Statutory Requirements for County Offices. County offices, defined by the enabling statute at Ohio Revised Code Sec. 307.51(A), as meaning “any officer, department, board, commission, or agency of a county,” are required to request approval for the purchase of legal resources from the Board. As a practice matter, this means the purchase of new legal materials, and the renewal of print continuation subscriptions and licensing agreements for online legal search services upon their renewal. County offices should contact the Law Library Director (Joe Hodnicki by phone at 513-887-3455 or email) for details and should do so sooner rather than later in order to present requests to the Board in a timely manner.

The Board is not obligated to purchase legal resources for county offices using Board funds; a Board denial of a request by a county office is the basis for acquiring legal resources at its own expense. However the Board is inclined to approve reasonable requests and to assume responsiblity for paying for them at the earliest practicable time. In the case of licensed LexisNexis or Westlaw services, the Board offers accounts to the Law Library’s LexisNexis and Westlaw subscription plans for the purpose of conducting official business in lieu of county offices’ individual licensing agreements when they come up for renewal. In most instances, the Law Library’s subscription plans will provide more resources and certainly will offer resources at less cost because the Board does not intend to charge back such services to County offices.

County offices should note that the Board will also consider law-related requests for resources needed to comply with state and federal regulatory requirements and other law-related resources required to conduct the Office’s official business. Examples, provided for illustrative purposes only, may include government accounting standards, human resources management publications, and environment-related standards. In some cases, the Board may require that requested resources be retain in the Butler County Law Library for use.

Butler County courts, municipal courts, and municipal law departments are not required to request advance approval for the purchase of legal resources; they may continue to purchase such materials with their own funds. However they are invited to submit purchase requests to the Board by contacting the Law Library Director. Reasonable requests will be reviewed with the aim of providing cost savings whether the requested resources are retained in-house by the requesting court of municipal agency or retained in the Law Library. The Board is cognizant of the need to effect cost saving measures in the provision of “legal research, reference, and library services to the county and to the municipal corporations, townships, and courts within the county” in the current economy. Municipal and township agencies required to comply with state and federal regulations should contact the Law Library Director for access to electronic services provided by the Law Library.

Any purchase approval by the Board is subject to available funding and may be revoked at any time upon notice. Resources acquired with Board funds shall by managed by the Board’s chief administrator, the Law Library Director, and shall be considered property of the Board even if not retained in the Law Library.
Funding County Law Library Operations. Statutory revenue from receipt of a portion of fines and penalties collected by municipal, county and common pleas courts under Ohio Revised Code Secs. 3375.50-3375.53 remains the source of the Butler County Law Library’s funding. The Board may also request additional funding from the Board of County Commissioners of Butler County but, in view of the current economy, has decided to make no such request in 2010. Expenses will increase substantially under the enabling statute. Beginning in 2010, the Board will be responsible for payroll, rent, utilities, and legal resources acquired for county agencies, courts and municipalities. It is estimated that expenditures for these unfunded additional expenses in CY 2010 will be approximately $250,000. The Board will take the necessary measures to meet its fiscal responsibilities which striving to achieve its statutory mandate.

Legislative Intent. The County Commissioners Association of Ohio, prime mover behind the enabling statute, has succeeded in its objective of achieving “major, systemic reform of the current county law library structure” enacted into law. Am. Sub. H.B. 420 indisputably establishes the law library as a county law library accountable to county government, not what some may have viewed as a bar association law library funded by public monies that was largely “unaccountable” in CCAO’s opinion. Under this statute, it is clear that the primary patron group to be served by county law libraries extends beyond the local bench and bar to include all county officers who require legal resources to perform their official duties. It is also clear that the scope of provided legal resources is not restricted to materials retained in the Law Library’s collection.

In this state, publicly funded county law libraries operated by law library associations were organized to serve county officials, judges and lawyers by providing materials directly related to real life problems as reflected in litigation and counseling starting in the late 19th century. These materials have been tied to the legal profession, just as county law libraries have been closely tied to the local bench and bar. But the need for and use of legal information is no longer the exclusive domain of the bench and bar or of the legal profession generally. County governments require a law library to serve the information needs of all public officials — elected public officers and administrators, staff attorneys and other county staff members, and judges and their staff, and, by extension, to municipalities and townships in the County. In this respect, county governments are no different from larger private corporations that maintain special libraries to support their mission. The Butler County Law Library under the direction of the Board, embraces this new era and its new mission. Members of the local bar and general public will also be served by the Law Library to the extent practicable.

Communications to the Butler County Community. In addition to occasional email distributions for significant announcements, this blog the will serve as the primary means of communicating news and announcements about Board and Law Library developments to the Butler County government and legal community. See also the Law Library’s redesigned website. Newsletters will no longer be produced. While appropriate for membership organizations such as the Butler County Law Library Association, the Law Library shall save money by using electronic communications. If interested in ongoing developments, please subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed. Instruction in how to do so can be obtained by contacting the Law Library. County offices and courts as well as municipalities are invited to contribute law-related news and announcements by submitting them to the Law Library Director, Joe Hodnicki via email, or by creating blog posts directly. Contact the Law Library Director for details. The Law Library reserves the right to not publish submitted information or delete posts it deems inappropriate.

New Online Research Services Available to Statutory Users

January 3, 2010

A limited number of LexisNexis accounts are available for assignment to statutory users. Please contact the Law Library Director for details.

A selection of BNA online resources are available for use by members and statutory users in the library.  Now that the Law Library is a unit of county government, access to licensed BNA  services is also available to all Butler County offices and courts without coming to the library if they have an official Butler County IP-authenticated address.  Resources include:

Criminal Law Reporter:  http://news.bna.com/crln/

Employment Discrimination Report:  http://news.bna.com/edln/

Environment Reporter:   http://news.bna.com/erln/

Family Law Reporter:  http://news.bna.com/flln/

Government Employee Relations Report:  http://news.bna.com/grln/

Occupational Safety & Health Reporter:  http://news.bna.com/osln/

U.S. Law Week:   http://news.bna.com/lwln/

Additional BNA databases are also available.
County users should call the Law Library if they have difficulty accessing the BNA web resources from their offices. Access for municipal courts and law departments can be arranged by contacting the Law Library Director.

E-mail-delivered BNA news and legal development alerts to statutory users is being coordinated by the Law Library. Members can also join the Law Library’s e-mail distribution lists but will have to contact the Law Library to request articles of interest.

Law Library Privileges

January 3, 2010

The Butler County Law Library Resources Board unanimously approved temporarily extending to March 31, 2010 Association membership benefits as library privileges to members in good standing. Members who have paid their 2009 Butler County Law Library Association dues will continue receiving library privileges without payment of a membership fee for January-March of 2010. Library privileges include use of library computers for Westlaw research, Internet access and productivity software applications, reduced fees for print-outs and photocopies, and after-hours access to the law library. LexisNexis is now available in the library for researching online federal and 50-state primary legal resources, Shepard’s citators, Anderson’s Ohio legal practice series and other Ohio-related titles published by Matthew Bender.

Middletown Branch Library

January 3, 2010

The Butler County Law Library Resources Board has decided to cancel all remaining print subscriptions for the Middletown Branch Library effective January 1, 2010 for financial reasons. Access to the Middletown Branch’s library collection will remain temporarily available. However, print materials will no longer be updated. Westlaw access also will remain temporarily available.  Eventually, however, the Middletown Branch Library will be closed.