Law Library

We are experiencing new challenges as we try to re-open law libraries and have staff access physical spaces. One thing I had not anticipated was how much we would rely on technology to enable it, and how little concern for equity there seems to be in doing so. Our need for normalcy should not create new barriers to information access and to our libraries both as resource centers and places to work. The first place…
Librarianship is the art of intermediation. Sometimes more, sometimes less. A key law library service is document delivery, which involves a negotiation between the recipient and the library staff. Those negotiations became more common and more complicated during the pandemic. It highlighted some opportunities to improve our document delivery decision-making by looking at where it ran into copyright limitations. I’m not going to dwell on copyright law too much. This is a post about practical…
One of the most useful sessions I attended at the virtual AALL conference this year was on rural legal service delivery and “legal deserts.” One of the speakers, Dr. Lisa Pruitt, described a fundamental challenge for legal service delivery. In my mind, it overlaps not only a service challenge for law libraries but perhaps a fundamental purpose without which it is hard to justify the need for a law library. The phrase she used…
I’m going to tell a story on myself. Our kids fall about laughing when it comes up, which, inevitably, it does. I enjoy crafting things. I’m not great at it but I’ve gotten better and, as you do, over time, you add new tools and techniques. When I was building foam knight’s armor for a Hallowe’en costume, I decided to take the plunge for a heat gun. Little did I know that it would provide…
I submitted a video to the AALL Innovation Showcase this year. It was a good chance to stretch and, who knew, perhaps win something. I didn’t – the well-deserving winner was ReviewIt – but still had a lot of fun creating an entry. I’ve fiddled around with video editing a bit over the years but this was the first time I tried to do something for serious consumption. If you missed the Showcase, you can
Are you there? There’s a good chance that you and I are not reading these words at the same time. We engage in a lot of asynchronous activity once we leave grade school activities like reading together. At work, we may tend towards synchronous activity and communications again because we’re all in the same place. It may not be all it’s cracked up to be but you can see if someone is there or not.…
The inability to work from a physical location designated by our employer is coming to an end. Our law library will probably reopen in October and I’ve spent the last couple of months thinking about what we should keep from the pre-COVID times and what we should toss. I’m not fully there, yet, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about control. As a law library director, am I managing the work? or…
There can be a preference to leave things that are working alone. Because they’re working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I was thinking about this in relation to a recent training event I had related to computer security, especially phishing. A too-narrow focus can make you feel like something is working, but only by ignoring what’s around you. A law library director or any manager can help by maintaining an eye on…
You’re not paying to read this blog post. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the experience of people who visit this site. Also, I’m an inveterate experimenter so I like to stay current on web technology and trends. Recently, I’ve been revisiting the page load speed and whether I needed to continue using Google AMP. I decided that I didn’t and it has made all the difference. Some fundamental truths about my site…
I was talking to a law librarian about career plans recently. One of the challenges of any librarian is the one about whether to go into library management. You may be able to make more money and there may be a status change. But it’s also a swapping of subject matter expertise. A law library director can spend very little time doing research. And yet there can be a perception that managers are not necessary…