Collection Development for Law Libraries

I attended an excellent session on collection development for law libraries at the Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference last week. The session was titled “Collection Development in an Era of Shrinking Budgets”. The program stated:

Aimed at those involved in collection development in all types of law libraries, this practical session will discuss strategies and best practices for coping with rising prices and shrinking budgets. Our two panelists will share their experiences in courthouse, private and academic law libraries. The session will then be opened up for discussion and comment by all attendees. Come prepared to share your good ideas!

Janet Moss, Head Law Librarian, Gerard V. LaForest Law Library
Iain Sinclair, Knowledge Manager, Stewart McKelvey
Rhonda O’Neill, Assistant Director, Alberta Law Libraries

Anne Bowers, Librarian, Northumberland Law Association Library

The panelists were engaging and the session was interesting, especially with the mix of approaches that came through from the different library types represented among th panelists. One feature of the session was a chance to share some ideas and suggestions in small groups. Thanks to Iain for providing the notes from the audience so that I could share them with Slawyers.

Collection development symposium – audience suggestions

  • Continuous need for re-evaluating your collection, talking to your users and finding out their requirements.
  • Resource sharing agreements and relationships. Look to work together with different library units. Divide up responsibility for different topics.
  • Negotiate for the portion of the content you want (commentary/analysis).
  • Work with the publishers on bundling of the electronic commentary on their sites with pricing and licensing that works for the users.
  • Consortia and interlibrary loans.
  • Visit vendor booths and give feedback. Request bound formats – talk to authors.
  • Needs assessments – feedback from front-line librarians.
  • Get your library community involved. Building of relationships and review of collection.
  • Communicate and build trust with the vendors.
  • Collaboration with other library communities.
  • Collection usage statistics are key.
  • Implementing rotational cancellation of loose-leaf services.

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