AALL Spectrum Blog

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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. The previous Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
5/15/2015 10:20:07 AM

Library Outreach Inside the Building

Library Outreach. Does this phrase strike fear in your core? What does it mean? How does a library “outreach” and to whom? Like many academic law libraries, Schmid Law Library (University of Nebraska College of Law) strives to connect with our law students by building good relationships and providing a positive environment for the students during law school and beyond. This semester we’ve informally outreached to our law students via March Madness, National Library Week and research review for student’s working as summer clerks and associates. I’d like to share these programs as examples of successful library outreach opportunities inside the building. 


Law Review March Madness


This is a new program for Schmid Law Library; we borrowed the idea from Klutznik Law Library (Creighton Law School). On the library’s first floor is an under-used bulletin board. It’s been a personal goal to put up a display to improve the space – the “Law Review Madness” event was a perfect fit (and took up almost a month of display needs). Our promotion to the law school included:


Which Law Review will win?! Schmid Law Library is offering Law Review Madness 2015 during this season’s March Madness tournament. We’ll have brackets available on Monday afternoon at the circulation desk for those who want to play along. Completed brackets are due by noon on Wednesday, March 18th to the law library circulation desk. The grand prize is a Golden Ticket for all-day use of a study room of your choice AND bragging rights for winning the first Law Review Madness tourney hosted by Schmid Law Library.


We wanted the entire law school to participate even though students benefitted from winning an all-day use of a study-room. There were 15 total participants, including three faculty and staff. The bulletin board was a hit; many people were impressed with the large bracket and clever law review modification. For example, the Villanova team became the Villanova Law Review, as did Arkansas (Arkansas Law Review). If a March Madness team had a law review associated with the school, we modified the team name only.


National Library Week Celebration


Schmid Law Library hosts a community coffee for the law school each semester, usually on Halloween and Valentine’s Day. This year we decided to host the spring semester community coffee during National Library Week (April 13-17, 2015) to celebrate libraries and connect with our students, faculty and staff. The community coffee involves fruit, breakfast goodies and coffee or tea set up in the library foyer for a meet and greet event. To promote library services, we created a daily quiz highlighting a particular department; Monday was technical services, Tuesday was circulation, Wednesday was Inter-Library Loan (ILL) - even the IT department created a quiz! We gave away a prize box each day including; gift cards to local bookstore, giveaways from our vendors, and office supplies like highlighters. The prize box was a hit, especially with finals around the corner; food is always appreciated and we promoted library services in a creative format. The feedback we’ve received from students has been positive and the quiz winners were excited about the great prize box.




We’ve offered a daylong research event to our students the past four years. This is a refresher on basic legal research skills necessary for their summer jobs as clerks and associates. The training involves several sessions including: starting research tips, administrative law, Nebraska and Federal legislative history research, free and low-cost alternative legal research on the web, and practical tools and tips. The library provides donuts and coffee during the morning and a pizza lunch for students who pre-register. We use a LibGuide for each ResearchPalooza event; it includes the day’s agenda, links to relevant resources, the registration form to RSVP for the event (and lunch) and contact information for the librarians.


Outreach programming can be successful in the building! Fortunately we have a captured audience as our law students spend hours each day in the library. These events are valuable opportunities to continue building good relationships with our law school community by tweaking established programs (the community coffee), trying timely programming (Law Review Madness) and continuing to support our student’s professional careers (ResearchPalooza).



Marcia L. Dority Baker is the Access Services Librarian at the University of Nebraska College of Law, Schmid Law Library in Lincoln, Nebraska. She can be reached via email; mdoritybaker@unl.edu


Posted By Marcia Dority Baker at 5/15/2015 10:20:07 AM  0 Comments
7/28/2014 2:30:32 PM

AALL Session Review: H-5: Law Librarianship in the Digital Age


Jennifer Alexander: McKenna Long & Aldridge
Scott D. Bailey, Squire Sanders
Valeri Craigle, University of Utah
William R. Mills, New York Law School
Ralph A. Monaco, New York Law Institute
Carol Ottolenghi, Ohio Attorney General
C. Andrew Plumb-Larrick, Case Western Reserve University
Thomas Striepe, University of Georgia

This unique session managed to keep my attention for the entire hour even though it was in the last time slot of the conference. The eight speakers listed above all wrote chapters in the recently published monograph Law Librarianship in the Digital Age edited by the program’s moderator, Ellysa Kroski of the New York Law Institute and published by Scarecrow Press.  What made this session different from many others I’ve attended is that each speaker on the panel presented using PechaKucha 20X20 style. This is a Japanese presentation style in which each talk consists of 20 images (or slides) each shown for just 20 seconds before automatically moving to  the next slide.  Each talk was about 7 minutes in length – and featured interesting photos or slides, and was thus concise and memorable.  Many presenters added humorous photos/slides which were a welcome addition and an aid in remembering content.

This program was a glimpse into the content of the book,  Law Librarianship in the Digital Age which is a guidebook for law librarians who want to become digitally literate as well as gain an understanding  of recent advancements and trends in information technology.  I learned so much during this program that I can’t possibly share all of it, but here are my main takeaways.

From Bill Mills on Tablets and Mobile Device Management:

  • Librarians need to be seen as trending and trend setters
  • Librarians as managers of digital resources and devices is one way to be trend setters.

From T.J. Striepe on Embedded Librarianship

  • Embedded librarianship is on a sliding scale that goes from visiting patrons where they are to actually living there with them.
  • Form a relationship with your patrons
  • Librarians at the University of Georgia roam the faculty hallways with iPads to demonstrate legal research apps, but also to talk about non library topics so that they can build relationships.

From Carol Ottolenghi on Digital Age Marketing

  • It’s not enough to do good. We need to be caught being good.
  • We need to sell the librarian skill set to our users, our potential users and to the people who control the budget.
  • Tell them in ways that they can hear you.

From Scott Bailey on the Future of Law Librarianship

  • Librarians are the product. Don’t let the tools (or the vendor) get in front of you.
  • Monetize your services and show how you add value.
  • Go to your patrons and communicate in the language of your business – be relevant!
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment

I just ordered the book and am looking forward to reading and learning even more. Thanks to Ellyssa for moderating this program and to all of the speakers. For more information on the book see the AALL Spectrum Blog review here.

Posted By Elizabeth Holmes at 7/28/2014 2:30:32 PM  5 Comments