ARCHIVED: AALL/Aspen Publishers Grant to Fund Study on the Impact of Law Libraries

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September 15, 1997


The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) will fund the first phase of a study to examine the impact law libraries have on legal decision-making. This study is made possible by the AALL/Aspen Publishersgrant program, a grant established by Aspen Publishersfor the continued support of the AALL Research Advisory Committee's research agenda.

This $9700 grant has been awarded to Joanne Marshall (Professor, University of Toronto), who proposed the impact of law libraries study. Marshall states that the purpose of her research "is to explore the value and impact of law libraries in the information age. As information sources grow more numerous and the formats in which information is presented become more diverse, it is important to evaluate the extent to which having the right information at the right time makes a difference. It is also important to document the role of the professional librarian in this process."

The research will build on earlier impact studies for libraries in the hospital and corporate environments. It will identify potential areas of value and impact in the legal environment and use a prospective study design to determine the extent to which law libraries and librarians are making a difference in decisions that are being made in their organizations.

The research will take place in two phases over the course of two years. Phase One will be a planning and development phase in which key informants in the law library community will be asked to participate in modifying the study design and instrumentation. The result of Phase One will be a "Study Design Manual" that will guide individual law librarians or groups of law librarians in the use of the methodology. Phase Two will implement the research using the design, instrumentation and study sites that have been identified in Phase One. The result of Phase Two will be a final report of the study results and papers suitable for publication in law and library science journals. Funding has been provided for Phase One only; funding for Phase Two is subject to the satisfactory conclusion of Phase One and continued financial support.

Aspen Publishersis a New York-based legal publisher that has served the needs of the legal community with various publications for over twenty years. The AALL/Aspen PublishersGrant Program has been designed to annually fund one or more projects of practical value to a large segment of those professions that create, disseminate or use legal and law-related information.

The American Association of Law Libraries was founded in 1906 to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information.