Thursday, January 8, 2015

More Evidence That Law Libraries Are Still Relevant

A recent article in Law Times offers more evidence that law libraries are still relevant. The article notes that Ontario is reviewing the province's law libraries for the first time in 15 years with the goal of modernizing them.

"LibraryCo Inc., the non-profit organization that runs Ontario’s law libraries, want to bring law libraries up to speed with technological changes that have transformed both the practice of law and the way people consume legal information."

The review is one of necessity because “[t]he library system is an integral component of the law society’s mandate to ensure licensee competence. Its services and their delivery should, therefore, be focused on best practices, particularly as it relates to the development of legal research literacy and skills and lawyer and paralegal competence. The current system has not been designed to advance this systemic approach or to provide education and training to encourage lawyers and paralegals to accomplish these competence goals.”

So with all of this modernizing and transition to electronic resources, the articles goes on to ask of law libraries are still relevant.

In part, a representative of LibraryCo Inc. mentions the need to facilitate resource access to those lawyers who do not have access to the major legal databases. “If [the resources] are not available to every lawyer, then we are putting the public at risk. We are creating a problem for access to justice because a lawyer can’t necessarily afford that.”

Another service mentioned is that law library space often serves as de facto offices for lawyers. And last, but certainly not least, the article recognized that "[e]verybody is struggling with information overload." And we know that librarians are often in the best position to help.

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