TWIN FALLS • The Twin Falls County Court law library will soon be shrinking.
Earlier this year the court made the decision to ditch nearly 10,000 books in its collection in favor of computer terminals.
“We’re just out of space,” said Linda Wright, 5th District trial court administrator.
Until September, the library held 11,291 law books. Now, there are 1,970 volumes left. The remaining books have been boxed up and most are being donated to the Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store.
At the court’s request, the Idaho Bar Association contacted all Idaho attorneys about the free books. Several area high schools, the College of Southern Idaho, Idaho State University and Twin Falls City library all took a few, leaving 7,408 to be donated to the Youth Ranch.
Some books with sentimental or nostalgic value were kept, such as two Idaho Reports, books filled with the state’s case law, from 1889. Those two books sit in Wright’s office, though, they’re available for the public to look at.
The library has been being slowly emptied out for weeks, and in that time, no members of the public have asked for books.
Most people prefer to use the computer terminals for their legal research.
“The new, young attorneys are all trained,” Wright said.
Non-attorneys who are representing themselves in court proceedings often frequent the library.
The change will give more room for other uses in the court and save taxpayer money, Wright said.
In 1999, Twin Falls County spent $52,000 to subscribe to all the law library materials. Last year, only $2,094 was spent on books, with another $14,500 going to online materials.
After construction, the law library will essentially be a hallway with one wall of books and two computer terminals. Those terminals will hold everything that was once in the library and more.
The space will permit a the enlargement of now-cramped jury room and clerks office.
According to the sign-in sheet, just 20 people have signed in since August to use the library. Most of them just used the library’s computers.
“It’s not practical to have all those books and no one reading them,” she said.
The more compact library will still include “all cases that have been in Idaho since the beginning of time,” Wright joked Friday, showing off the mostly empty room.
The remodeling effort has yet to go out to bid, Wright said.
Among employee Diane Schorzman’s duties is serving as the law librarian.
Even with most of the books gone, her job as librarian will stay the same.
In the next few weeks, she plans to have a guide available to the public on how to effectively use the law library. She’s built a computer sideshow with pictures of dozens of books, what kind be found in each of them and where to find them on the shelf.
The tutorial will also include information on how to use the online search, and Westlaw Next, the computer legal research system that the county uses.
She’s even created a paper pamphlet version for people who are still technology adverse, she said.