Judge Mary Yu's passion and steadfast dedication to providing equal and open access to the justice system made her a natural fit for a position on the Public Law Library of King County's Board of Trustees, where, as stated on its website, "Without access to information, there is no justice."
During Judge Yu's service on the Board from February 2009 to this June, and her tenure as president in 2010–2011, Judge Yu continually and consistently strove to ensure that the Law Library remained open and accessible to the public.
Board President Stephen Ellis writes, "Judge Yu was the driving force behind two initiatives started by the Board: defining how the library is to remain relevant and useful to its patrons in an increasingly digital world, and finding ways for the library to be of service to the ever-increasing number of pro se litigants in our court system, while remaining of service to its traditional lawyer, judge and court personnel patrons."
Indeed, when the Law Library at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent faced closure due to budget cuts in 2010, Judge Yu worked hard to ensure that the library continued to receive funding. As part of her efforts, Judge Yu testified before the King County Council, sought support from minority bar associations and lawyers in south King County, and met with each council member and the King County executive.
As Judge Yu observes, "It is so incredibly important to protect the Law Library because it is the primary resource for pro se litigants and low-income litigants, and helps to ensure equal access to justice for all regardless of one's income level."
While president of the Board, Judge Yu also conducted a visioning session where 45 attendees gathered together to envision ways the library could better serve the public. Attendees included the deans of the Seattle University and University of Washington law schools, law professors, judges, legal service representatives, and law school, law firm and state law librarians. Under Judge Yu's leadership and direction, the session led to the creation of a strong Advisory Committee, which has proposed several bold ideas for the library, such as changing the name of the library from King County Law Library to Public Law Library of King County to emphasize the library's accessibility.
"Judge Yu deserves the vast majority of the credit for positioning the library for the future and ensuring that it continues to serve as a good neighbor for the King County Superior Court," Ellis says.
"We will miss her smile, intelligence and wit in our board meetings. The library staff will miss her many personal courtesies toward them. She ran the board meetings with style, respect for others, and a sense of humor. She was the right person to serve as the chair of the Board during a time of challenge for libraries in general and for the King County Superior Court."
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