March 17, 1997
Illinois House of Representatives
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Dear Sir or Madame:
I am writing to you today on behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries to urge you to oppose House Bill 245 which may be called for a floor vote this week. We join the 3,400 members of the Illinois Library Association and the Chicago Association of Law Libraries (CALL) in opposing this measure that defines obscenity at the county level and could result in 102 different interpretations of obscene material. If enacted, HB 245 would pose very serious implications to Illinois libraries and to all the citizens of your state.
The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a nonprofit educational organization based in downtown Chicago with nearly 5,000 members nationwide. Our members respond to the legal and governmental information needs of legislators, judges, and other public officials at all levels of government, corporations and small businesses, law professors and students, attorneys, and members of the general public. CALL is one of AALL's thirty regional chapters and was recently recognized on its 50th anniversary by the Chicago City Council for its many years of service to the legal community.
The impact of HB 245 on law libraries in Illinois would have a chilling effect on the ability of attorneys, judges, and others to access certain needed materials. To cite just two examples, the broad nature of legal research involves resources such as copies of court cases that describe acts of sexual assault or anatomy books needed to prepare medical malpractice cases. It is not sound policy to impede the rights of Illinois citizens to access certain materials that a very few individuals within each county might deem obscene.
We strongly urge you to vote against HB 245. It is an ill-advised measure that would have a chilling effect on the ability of citizens of Illinois to access information they need. Thank you very much for your support in opposing this legislation.
Robert L. Oakley
American Association of Law Libraries
Washington Affairs Representative