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The San Diego Law Library, which provides free legal information to the general public, has a new director.

David Whelan, who started Monday, comes from Toronto, where he was the director of legal information at the Law Society of Ontario’s Great Library. Before that, he was the director at the Cincinnati Law Library Association and director of the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

The law library dates to 1891 in San Diego County. It is currently housed next to the downtown San Diego jail. The library is an independent public agency established under state law. It is commonly used by solo practitioners who don’t have the budget for database subscriptions and collections of legal tomes, as well as by self-represented litigants and law students.

David Whelan is the new director of the San Diego Law Library.

David Whelan is the new director of the San Diego Law Library.

(Courtesy of the San Diego Law Library)

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Whelan is taking the helm as the library emerges from the pandemic. In-person access to the library was restricted at certain points during the pandemic, prompting the library to provide the public greater remote access to its databases and information. The in-person experience has also been noisy, as the neighboring jail constructs an underground tunnel linking to the new courthouse a block away.

“Public access to legal information is a foundation of democratic nations,” Whelan said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to helping San Diegans get the information that will help them solve their legal issues. The pandemic has accelerated changes in expectations about how that access can occur, and the San Diego Law Library will remain focused on making that access as easy as possible, across the county.”

He replaces John Adkins, who oversaw the law library for the past 12 years and retired at the end of last year. Adkins managed the library through a major renovation and budget cuts that resulted in the closing of branches in East and South County. The library’s only remaining branch, in the Vista courthouse complex, is expected to undergo a big renovation in the near future.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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