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.
2/16/2013 11:46:17 AM

Highlights from State, County, Court, and County SIS Newsletter (SCCLL News)

The newest edition of SCCLL News is now available.  One article highlights what two libraries are doing with social media, such as Facebook and blogs.  For example, the San Diego Law Library used built-in applications to sell advertising space on their new website.  Jessica Van Buren writes about how the Utah State Law Library uses online forms posted on their website  and student volunteers to help patrons find and complete forms.  Claudia Jalowka, who attended as a representative of AALL, provides a summary of the e-courts 2012 conference.  The newsletter also includes news about the section (e.g., awards available, proposed bylaws changes, and the annual meeting silent auction).

Posted By Sara Sampson at 2/16/2013 11:46:17 AM  0 Comments
2/12/2013 4:44:18 PM

Highlights from Winter 2013 MALL Newsletter

The Minnestoa Association of Law Libraries has published its Winter 2013 MALL Newsletter. This issue's emphasis is on the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Two articles discuss the challenges FDLP faces and then value it can provide even if physical collections are not the primary means of distributing government information. The FDLP has fostered a corps of librarians trained to research government information. Library involvment in the FDLP has also helped steer policy toward addressing government transparency and authentication of legal information.

Posted By Benjamin Keele at 2/12/2013 4:44:18 PM  0 Comments
2/12/2013 4:28:10 PM

Book Review: Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions

Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions, by Laurie Selwyn and Virginia Eldridge. IGI Global, 2012, 281 pages. Hardcover, $175.00.

Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions by Laurie Selwyn and Virginia Eldridge is an educational and insightful compendium of information for all types of law librarians who work as public servants. Through primarily experiential and anecdotal evidence of public law library operations, supplemented with data extracted from listservs, informal surveys, and industry news, the authors reaffirm the continuing validity of public law libraries as necessary venues for the provision of legal reference and research to a growing service population that includes private and public lawyers, judges, government officials, students, professors, inmates, members of the public, and pro se litigants. Each chapter of the book offers a detailed discussion of a discrete area of public law librarianship, including: patrons; governance and operations; management; personnel; public relations; collection development; technology, contracts, and electronic resources; technical services; and public service. While the authors summarize the history and current status of each of these areas, the key value of the book lies in its discussion of industry trends and predictions for the future of public law librarianship. Although many of their forecasts are already a reality at my law library, a few of their suggestions include provocative invitations to public law librarians to explore new service models and re-invent their libraries. As a taste to whet your appetite to read the book yourself, Selwyn and Eldridge repeatedly suggest that public law libraries could provide knowledge management and information technology services for their parent organizations in the form of pre-trial discovery assistance to prosecutors, digital preservation, and even dissemination of local ordinances. Although the authors recommend creating electronic reference desks and offering more remote access, they stop short of concluding that public law libraries will become completely 'virtual' any time in the near future. As they see it, increasing patron demands by self-represented litigants for reference assistance, training, and education, coupled with format issues and authentication concerns, will continue to drive the need for physical public law libraries and print resources. Along those same lines, one suggestion the authors made that I realized I should have already considered is the acquisition of adaptive and assistive technology to help disabled patrons overcome physical and visual handicaps. Lest you worry, I have not revealed all of the nuggets and secrets in Public Law Librarianship, which serves as a current anthology of information upon which public law libraries can rely to craft their future in a mixed world of digital and print resources. 

Kathleen M. Dugan, Esq. is the head librarian of the Cleveland Law Library Association/Cuyahoga County Law Library Resources Board

Posted By Kathleen Dugan at 2/12/2013 4:28:10 PM  0 Comments