Thursday, August 02, 2007

Deans Meeting to consider library cost savings

Deans of Boston area law schools are planning a meeting with the library directors in mid-September. The idea seems to be that since there are so many schools locally, we should be able to work out agreements to collect different areas.

I don't know if the deans who are pushing this have thought through what it would mean to share collections in a meaningful way. It would mean that researchers would have to be told either to travel to another school to work or wait for ILL (even if we send runners, it will take time to retrieve materials). NELLCO directors have discussed this periodically and it always foundered on what Dan Freehling called the "local hero" problem. Nobody wants to tell their faculty that "we don't collect that -- you have to use X library for that research."

This will be interesting. It's possible we may be able to come up with certain areas to rely on each other for. But I'm guessing that it will be a very difficult matter. Faculty members are not going to be happy if the material they use will be housed and collected at a different school. We will have to be very careful to consider current research interests and hope to be right about future research areas. I will periodically post here as things develop.


Betsy McKenzie said...

Gail Winson at Roger Williams tells me it's all New England law schools, though I'm not sure exactly how the deans are defining New England.

Grace Mills said...

Yes, the "local hero" problem needs to be addressed. It will be interesting to see how their individual law library collections will develop under their plan. Can you see other regions far behind - say San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Durham?

Jacqueline Cantwell said...

I remember some talk of doing this in downtown San Francisco about 15 years ago. All within walking distances were: SF Public Law Library, Hastings, SF Public Law Library Monadknock Branch, SF Public Library, California Courts, various agencies, etc. You might want to find out what happened to that discussion. Now that so much material is online, I suspect that agencies have dropped their print materials. Book stacks cost too much in real estate, much less annual subscription costs.

Betsy McKenzie said...

Dear Jacqui, thanks for the hint!