ARCHIVED: AALL President Oakley Appoints Special Committee on the Future of Law Libraries in the Digital Age

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February 22, 2001


Citing Outcome 1A of the Association's Strategic Plan: Leadership for the 21st Century: New Realities, Changing Roles, which calls for AALL to set standards and guidelines for the organization and delivery of information and services in an evolving print and electronic legal environment, President Robert Oakley has appointed a Special Committee on the Future of law Libraries in the Digital Age. The Special Committee is charged to consider the implications of electronic publishing for the future of law libraries and to prepare a report examining the issues and outlining different scenarios or models to describe the law library of the future.

In preparing its report, the Special Committee will consider such things as library content, including the relative balance between print and electronic sources, library staffing and staff roles, library services, and any other issues or standards that might seem appropriate. At least one such model or scenario should be for an all-electronic or virtual law library. If appropriate, the Committee will develop a set of draft standards for the law library of the future and for the delivery of information and services in this new environment.

The committee will also consider the impact that the role or mission for different types of libraries will play in their respective futures and develop models and/or standards that will reflect those differences.

In preparing its report, the Special Committee will review the current and anticipated changes in legal publishing, the availability of legal and law-related information through alternative sources such as the world wide web, and the development of new mechanisms for the delivery of library and information services to lawyers, law students, judges, and other law library clients. The members will also consider issues of preservation, permanence of the legal record, and authentication of legal documents. In addition, the Committee will review the existing literature and consult with colleagues representing different parts of the profession including readers services, technical services, foreign, comparative and international law librarians, etc.

The Committee will submit an interim report to the AALL Executive Board for its meeting in November of 2001, and prepare a final report for the Executive Board meeting in July 2002. The final report may be published in Law Library Journal, AALL Spectrum, or as an entirely separate publication.

Composed of seven members, the Committee is representative of each of the three major types of libraries in the Association, and the Committee is asked to consider the issues from each of those perspectives, including law firms and corporate legal departments, federal and state courts and other public agencies, and law schools.

Members of the Special Committee are: Sandra Gold, Chair, Lord, Bissell & Brook; Margie Axtmann, University of Minnesota Law Library; Gregory Lambert, Oklahoma Supreme Court; Nina Platt, Faegre & Benson LLP; Rita Reusch, University of Utah, S. J. Quinney Law Library; Michael Saint-Onge, LEXIS Publishing; and Gail Warren, Virginia State Law Library.