Friday, March 26, 2010

National Jurist ranks law school libraries

The National Jurist ranks the best law school libraries. In a brief intro that warms my heart, even as we all will instantly begin to quibble over their criteria, they begin,

Many thought that the digital age would render brick-and-mortar libraries obsolete. But the modern-day library has emerged as a vital center for learning and research that's busier than ever. We rank 198 law libraries for resources, services and space.

When James Dunkelberger first walked into the law library at Brigham Young University School of Law, he was surprised by the extensive list of resources available to students.

He was assigned a personal study carrel where he could store his study materials and supplies. It came wireless network access as well as a hardline connection that he could plug into. And he had access to the library'e 25 private rooms that he and members of his study group could reserve for meetings.

"It's like a home base," he said of the BYU law library. "You can network with the people you need to. Everything you need is at your fingertips."

The result is a place that is inviting, even enjoyable, for students but still offers everything they need to enhance the educational process.

"The school has provided us a place where we feel comfortable and has the space and technology to facilitate learning," Dunkelberger said.

The situation at BYU isn't unique. While the mission of law libraries hasn't changed all that much over the years, the way they go about achieving those goals certainly has.

Today, every library must provide material, not just in printed books, but in a variety of digital formats. And they have to make sure the library is not just a place for academic research, but a comprehensive learning center where students can interact with one another while still getting valuable instruction and advice from trained professionals.

It's all part of the evolution of the law library in the 21st century.
While they did a nice job of talking about libraries' importance to law students, we can all quibble over their balancing of the factors, and where different libraries landed. Iowa came in number 1 (congrats!). The article has the top 50 law libraries. They continue to look at number of volumes, titles, number of seats, hours open, and the number of librarians per FTE student. Very frustrating as always when you know there is so much being missed in the ranking. But still. Fun to see.

Note: as of 4/1, I received an e-mail from the publishers explaining that, though the article claims there is a link to all the 198 libraries they used in their data gather, that they failed to include the link. They apologize for the mistake and oversight.

1 comment:

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