Law Libraries

The days of the law library being a showpiece of a firm are over

Take These Books... Please
"A Chief Operating Officer in the crowd backed me up and said that the days of the library being a showpiece of a firm are over. I asked him what is the "touchstone" of a firm these days (some central place where everyone feels connected). Is it the library? Is it the break rooms? Conference Center? Bathrooms?? I think we finally agreed that in this day and age, the touchstone of a firm isn't something that is based on a physical space."

New AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy

New AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy
A group of law librarians has begun the steps to create a Caucus on Consumer Advocacy. The caucus' statement of purpose reads:
"Statement of Purpose of New AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy
Business practices of legal information vendors (LIVs) warrant more vigorous consumer advocacy than our profession has pursued. Our caucus may: (1) recommend or implement improved disclosures of LIV practices that harm consumers or weaken LIV competition; (2) determine if law librarians and their supporters should renew efforts to investigate unfair, or anti-competitive, business practices by LIVs; (3) recommend further investigation to AALL, interested parties (such as library and attorney associations), or government agencies; (4) examine whether voluntary guidelines have provided adequate remedies to unfair, or anticompetitive, business practices by LIVs; (5) propose legal remedies to AALL, interested parties, or government agencies; (6) encourage law librarians to discuss or pursue these options among themselves and attorneys; and (7) partner with all parties seeking stronger consumer protections from unfair, or anti-competitive, business practices of information vendors. Our caucus may also take other actions to advance the strongest consumer advocacy allowed by law.
Once AALL approves our caucus application, we will welcome partnerships with other LIS consumers like attorneys, their affiliated associations, and LIS vendors who follow the letter and spirit of the law in their business practices." -- Read More

Monty The Dog Hits The Stacks At Yale Law

Yale University Law School is an intense place, and its library is no joke: It has soaring vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows and giant chandeliers that hang from chains. To help students unwind, the library is offering a rather unusual checkout option: Monty, a Jack Russell-border terrier mix.

Full story

What standards vendors use to measure the underlying quality of their product?

On editing & updating standards
"What is important about these excerpts (and in my opinion, I don’t believe these systems or approaches to be unique to West) is that they get to an underlying issue not being asked of lawyers and legal researchers generally, that is, what do you, the consumer, consider to be a quality update to a legal treatise? It’s rare to find lawyers talking about such things, and law librarians had a perfect opportunity to do so at the recent AALL Vendor Colloquium, but instead limited their focus to pricing and subscription models, vendor communications, digital v. print, etc. Honestly, what difference does all of that make if you don't know what standards vendors use to measure the underlying quality of the product?"

Mendik Library's DRAGNET wins AALL Law Library Publication Award

The Mendik Library’s DRAGNET has won the AALL 2011 Law Library Publications Award, Nonprint Division. The award honors "achievement in creating in-house library materials that are outstanding in quality and significance." DRAGNET (Database Retrieval Access using Google’s New Electronic Technology) is a Google Custom Search engine that only looks at 100 highly-recommended free legal databases and web sites. It was developed over the summer of 2010 in a highly collaborative effort with input from all librarians. It includes a mix of governmental and organizational sites with an emphasis on New York.

A DRAGNET search bar is now included in the page the library has maintained since 2009 tracking 150 law journals with free online content, and there is a third DRAGNET that searches the constitutions and codes of the 50 states and federal government. All of these are found at http://www.nyls.edu/library/research_tools_and_sources/dragnet1 . The library will be developing a web page that will give step-by-step directions for creating similar engines that could be created by law librarians to reflect their own regions.

Law Librarian at Several Ivies, Morris L. Cohen Dies

From the New York Times: Morris L. Cohen, a book lover who shunned the practice of law because it was too contentious and became one of the nation’s most influential legal librarians, bringing both the Harvard and Yale law libraries into the digital age, died Dec. 18 at his home in New Haven. He was 83.

Morris L. Cohen, at the University of Pennsylvania's law library in 1971, went on to be law library director at Harvard and Yale. The cause was leukemia, his wife, Gloria, said.

Mr. Cohen had worked at his Uncle Max’s law firm and on his own in Brooklyn in the 1950s before deciding that enough was enough. “He wasn’t cut out for practicing law,” Mrs. Cohen said. “He was not confrontational.”

Instead, he would become director of the law libraries at four universities: the former University of Buffalo, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Yale. He brought to those positions a fascination with legal history — as evidenced in the six-volume Bibliography of Early American Law (1998), which he researched and compiled for 35 years — and with modernizing law libraries. He also brought that fascination to his classes in legal research.

Blog Gives Superheroes and Supervillains Their Day in Court

A new blog addresses questions like whether Superman’s heat vision is protected by the Second Amendment.

Full article in the NYT

The Loris in the Library

The Loris in the Library

The projects that we can (and should) be collaborating on are new and different and will completely change the way people access their law. As such, they will be met with resistance and suspicion and push-back from commercial vendors and government agents. Presenting a united front and creating a system that benefits from all of our areas of expertise from the beginning will go a long way towards legitimizing our cause. We have one chance to make a first impression, one opportunity to make free law an accepted resource in this generation. Don’t mess it up.

Does It Pay to Hire a Law Firm Librarian?

If you were designing a law firm today, would you even have a library? I think many, including me, would answer, “Probably not.” As long as the Internet exists, information that was in a law library will be available online. So why bother, right?

Full article in the ABA Journal

Law School Library Used as Venue for Unrestrained Underwear Ads, Oh My...

Stylite and a ton of other publications report on the series of underwear ads photographed in the library of Brooklyn Law School. It apparently was 'understood' that the ads would be for Diesel Jeans, not their underwear line.

Brooklyn Law School was not pleased. More opinions from law students at CBS News.

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