Law Libraries Are About Services

Greg Lambert crafted a well written and thought provoking piece at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog yesterday titled “The 3 Foot Radius of the Law Library“. Greg inspired my reflection on the law library as a place vs. the law library as a service.

After thinking about it, I believe that in my organization, the library has always been about service from the librarian perspective, but may have been about place from the lawyer perspective. My team and I regularly deliver “service bubbles” in many ways:

  • print based current awareness – compiled by others
  • email based current awareness – compiled by others
  • print and email based current awareness that is clearly compiled by our library team
  • intranet content that is proven useful – measured by its location in our top 10 intranet pages
  • speaking engagements (often services demos or training) with practice groups
  • regular training sessions with students
  • office visits – hand delivery of research product when appropriate
  • walk arounds – poking our heads in the office of people we don’t often hear from
  • attendance at firm social events
  • attendance at some client functions

These are the usual activities that work to bring services to mind when my colleagues think of the library. We try to go further when opportunities arise. We review our new file report and when we see something that we have collected library expertise in, we will email the responsible lawyer with information that they might need. We also send “quite some time ago you asked about…” emails with updates to information that we know our users are interested in.

My team works hard to be visible even though our physical location is near or in among the physical material that helps make up the library collections. I know that we are succeeding in our efforts to have “the library” become less about the collection and more about the services we provide, but it requires a continuing and concerted effort. It is much easier to think of the library as a place.

Comments are closed.