News & Articles
Law Library By Debra Collura
By Debra Collura
Every county in New York State is required by law to have a law library accessible to the public. Albany County’s Francis Bergan Law Library has reopened to the public in the Albany County Courthouse. The Library had been closed for renovations and is now open three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM. The library is in a remodeled space in a beautiful new wing on the 4th floor of the Court House.
Laura Barber, the principal librarian, gave me a tour of the print and electronic resources available. Patrons can come in and use the statutes, regulations, legal treatise, and find necessary legal forms. In addition there is free access to Lexis, Westlaw and Lois Law on public access computers. It should be noted that these expensive and proprietary subscription databases are made available by the court system as part of their public access initiative. Information from these databases can then be printed and downloaded as well as emailed to the user. This is indeed great news for the Albany legal community as well as the public who now have greater access to legal resources.
While it is State Law to provide a public access library, staffing for many of these libraries has been reduced by the workforce reduction cuts faced by the Unified Court System’s budget in 2011. Currently only two full time and one part time library employee are available to staff both the Albany County Law Library and the Rensselaer County Law Library in Troy. The library in Troy, called the F. Warren Travers Supreme Court Library, is in the Rensselaer County Courthouse Annex. Library staff must travel between the two facilities, thus the reduced hours for the Albany branch.
Please be advised that the information found on the New York Uniform Court System web page, http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/3jd/lawlibraries/albany/index.shtml requires updating which will occur in the near future. For the most up to date information at this time, please call in Albany 518-285-8954 or 518-285-6183 in Troy.