Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Libraries at Crossroads

Jim's posting about Tulane's merger of the law school library into its university library may be viewed as part of a troubling trend. There are the periodic efforts of law firms like the highly publicized effort by Baker and McKenzie some years ago to dump their library, assuming that everything was available online. There was no ballyhoo when they quietly reinstated the library months afterward. The same thing happened in Boston with a firm, Morrison, Mahoney and Miller, that dropped its librarian, library and membership in the venerable Social Law Library. I know they have a firm librarian again. I am not sure they have another membership in Social Law. Thank you, Penny Hazelton for your survey of what in the University of Washington Law Library is not contained on Lexis or Westlaw!

This is all the more reason to make libraries as relevant and important to users as we can, no matter what kind of library we work in. I went back and re-read Jim's excellent article, 96 Law Library Journal 387
LEAKY BOUNDARIES AND THE DECLINE OF THE AUTONOMOUS LAW SCHOOL LIBRARY, Summer, 2004. A good bit of the article details the efforts of law schools and librarians to achieve decent library standards and autonomy. It is well worth considering whether we are at a crossroads where all that can be swept away because we have given decision-makers no reason to think our staffs or services have nothing more to offer than has been replaced by Lexis and Westlaw!

If you have good ideas for PUSHING services to students and faculty, please, use this blog as a place to start a dialog. I have shared some of my ideas in the past, but I am not a guru. I certainly do not believe I have cornered the marketplace on ideas for library services nobody knew they needed 'til they had them! That's what we need now!

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