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Public Law Library Mission Statements (with a side of “Portlandia” and a failed Mission Alignment)


Most organizations and corporations have mission statements in one form or another. (A good business plan will always include one.)

Mission statements are often aspirational but also restrictive, by which I mean they can save the organization from the dreaded “mission creep.” (For a funny “Portlandia” (the TV show) based example of averted mission creep, see below.*)

First, here is a list of 50 county (or public) law library mission statements, courtesy of the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog.

*Portlandia story: Many years ago I received a call from a “Portlandia” location scout who asked if the TV show could film in my Law Library (then the Washington County (Oregon) Law Library). I controlled my urge to say, “yes!” and referred the question to our county’s public affairs director. The answer was, no – the filming would not pass the “mission alignment” test, a response that we all agreed was very “Portlandia.” (The formal response to the location scout was: “… the private purpose of the production falls outside the scope of the County’s mission of public service.” which is not to say that if left to my own devices I might have said “yes!” and called it Outreach, which all public law libraries do. Alas.)

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