ARCHIVED: AALL Announcement: Law Libraries in the Depository System: Measuring Success

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April 27, 1999

Law Libraries in the Depository System: Measuring Success

The manner in which depositories deliver services has changed in myriad ways since law libraries were statutorily admitted to the system twenty years ago, yet GPO's gauge for our success remains the same --uncompromising public access. As all depositories struggle to keep up with rapidly changing technologies, law libraries continue to face the same old challenge: is depository status worth the price we pay in terms of personnel and housing? How much would we lose if we gave it up? These are fighting words for depository librarians, who are fiercely protective of both our collections and our libraries. In this discussion, we hope to explore the primary advantages and disadvantages of depository status for law libraries, to share how we deal with our administrations and colleagues in the struggle to ensure access, and how law libraries might change the perception within the depository community that we are only in it for the free stuff.

In preparation for the discussion, you may wish to read Laura Orr-Waters's article, "Love It or Leave It: Government Depositories in Law Libraries," 15 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 133 (1996) and the series of commentaries by Wayne Kelley, Margaret Leary, and James Murray in 85 Law Library Journal (Spring 1993).

Charlene Cain, Government Documents Librarian at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center Law Library, Louisiana State University, and current chair of the Government Documents Special Interest Section, will moderate a discussion of these points from May 3-14, 1999.

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. Today, with over 4,800 members, the Association represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with a wide range of institutions: law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state and federal government agencies. For more information, visit AALLNET, the official AALL Web site, at