Law Libraries

Courthouse Library to Close April 1

An article in the Scranton Times Tribune reports that the Lackawanna County Courthouse in Pennsylvania is closing its law library, located in the basement, to provide more room for the sheriff's offices. New cells have been built, and the prisoner-handling operation will be moved down there once the work is complete.

In the meantime, the county bar association has been supporting the library out of its own pocket for the past nine months. The bar association is now suing the county over its refusal to continue paying for library materials, arguing that the county is required to do so by law.

The Paper Chase: A new legal news service weblog

The University of Pittsburgh law school, has recently added a free online legal news service in weblog form called "The Paper Chase" to JURIST, their legal information and education Web portal. Every day important legal news stories of general interest, are filtered, reported, summarized and enriched with associated research materials. Click to learn more.

Florida's County Law Libraries Threatened by Funding Change

bentley writes "A recent change in the way Florida funds its state court system puts the continued operations of county law libraries in question, according to a letter to the editor of Hernando Today. "At the present time, the law libraries are funded by filing fees, paid by anyone filing a civil lawsuit in the state courts. That's how it should be - those who use the libraries are paying for it. But effective July 1, 2004, counties will be prohibited from charging these nominal fees; and each county will be forced to either maintain the law library from county funds or shut it down entirely.""

FL Public library that opens doors to law could close

Neat Article On the Rupert J. Smith Law Library which is free to the public, provides an up-to-date stock of Florida and federal laws. It also offers computer access to legal databases such as Lexis and Loislaw.

A full-time librarian is available to assist people searching through the library's 45,000 books. A conference room provides a venue for private discussions between attorneys and clients.

Although usage is on the rise, according to its operators and board of trustee members, the library founded in 1957 is in jeopardy of shutting down next year.

The costs and benefits of meeting law firms' information needs takes a look at in Library Economics 101, by Joan L. Axelroth.
She says In these days of limited resources, it is not enough to present management with the costs of running the library, assuming that they will support the operation because it has value. Rather, library managers must be prepared to explain what is involved in running a library system that meets the firm's information needs. Managers must also be prepared to show how the library's resources, products, and services enhance the firm's bottom line.

Revolution or Evolution for Law Libraries?

Steven writes "A Story says the conventional wisdom is that online, compact libraries are much more cost-effective for the firm. That may be true, but there is one big problem with this scenario: Attorneys and administrators don't always share the same opinion about how a law firm library is used and what types of resources make up the tools of the trade today.

Less Is More at Law Libraries

Jen Young writes "The law library is going the way of the three-piece suit, so Says In our second AmLaw Tech Library Survey, 88 of the Am Law 200 firms responded (up from 53 last year), and the verdict is clear: Box up those Corpus Juris Secundums; this isn't John Houseman's law library anymore. Today's law librarians are often more concerned about maintaining WiFi reception than full sets of ALRs. With the physical space of libraries shrinking, librarians look back with nostalgia on the days when the library was the anchor of the firm, an intellectual village where lawyers gathered to ferret out the law from the mound of paper around them. No more.

Stanford project puts student work online

"The idea makes so much sense, it might serve as a standard for all graduate school courses: Create a Web-based library of original student research -- especially if the topic has long been neglected."

"With that in mind, Stanford Law School Professor Barbara Babcock, two sharp librarians and dozens of students have done exactly that, generating an extensive archive of unique biographies of important but forgotten women in law."

"It's already attracted widespread interest from other scholars -- and some descendants of these historic figures." (from Mercury News)

Donors save law library

SomeOne passed along some Good News for a change. The Dane County Law Library received a last-minute reprieve this week thanks to a surge in donations from local law firms and attorneys, and will continue operating in 2003 after a new contract is worked out between the county and the state law library.
Tax-deductible donations can be sent to the county Clerk of Courts office, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room GR-10, Madison, WI 53709.

\"The major benefactors of the county law library are pro se (without attorney) litigants in family law,\" he said. \"The fact that they\'ll be able to continue having the forms and services needed to pursue their own cases is very important.\"

Follow Up: County law library to shut doors

SomeOne points us to This Sad Story where The Dane County Law Library will close its doors Dec. 27 after a fund-raising effort by area lawyers failed to come up with the funds necessary to keep it open.
Two weeks ago, The Capital Times [and LISNews] reported a fund-raising effort was under way among lawyers and law firms to raise $65,000 to keep the law library open, after the library\'s 2003 budget was cut from $117,000 to $52,000.


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