The traditional image of the library typically involves an institution that is unchanging as the world around it changes. Some view this as dependability, others view it as obsolescence. In truth, there are many aspects of the library that have been around for decades or even centuries – we still collect books; our main services are still in cataloging, reference, and circulation; and our primary goal is still to help people find the information they seek – but just because our core function is the same does not mean we’re not changing with the times. In honor of National Library Week, I thought I’d highlight some of the recent ways the Law Library continues to update our existing services to meet your changing needs.
When most people think about Technical Services they think mostly of the creation and maintenance of the library’s catalog, but that’s only a fraction of what they do. Our Technical Services team also maintains the law school archives, and recently began a digital repository, bringing together faculty publications, a comprehensive digital collection of our law journals, and historical law school documents, all in one place and freely accessible. In just over three years, we have already had 1.7 million downloads!
Public Services – comprising both Circulation and Reference – has seen many recent additions and updates as well. Last summer, Circulation moved to an online scheduling system for conference room reservations, allowing you to schedule your reservations remotely. To better serve our patrons, Circulation also added a scan-on-demand service to facilitate quick, digital access to our print collection (within the limitations of copyright law, of course!). You can learn more about the many services offered in Circulation by checking out our Circulation Guide.
Over in Reference we have seen many recent changes to better serve your needs. Earlier this year we adopted LibChat to offer another way to ask us reference questions, supplementing in-person, over-the-phone, and Ask-a-Librarian interactions. We continue to add to and update our vast collection of online Research Guides covering an array of legal topics. We began an Advanced Legal Research course for those interested in honing this particular lawyering skill. And in January, we hired Kim Mattioli as our first Student Services Librarian, to be a resource entirely devoted to the research needs of our students and student groups.
Finally, and more generally speaking, the Law Library has in recent years updated our communication methods to include social media and a digital sign. Yes, our core services remain unchanged, but the means of executing those services are ever-evolving.
Now, as we don our new name, the Jerome Hall Law Library thanks you for another great year!