Archive for the 'Marketing' Category

The Value of Law Librarians

Law librarians know the value of law librarians, even when they struggle to articulate that value to others. It pleases us when someone aptly describes what we do; and it satisfies even more when that praise comes from a user. One such example comes from Judy Zimet, a law student coach, in a post, “All Hail the Law School Library Staff” on her blog.

Along that line, the next two issues of Spectrum will publish hybrid articles about helping law students understand the value of law librarians and how to most effectively exploit them. The July issue has Jennifer Pesetsky’s “Preparing students to be effective lawyers with a good understanding of research tools” and then in the September/October issue Jennifer Pesetsky follows up with “Preparing students to be effective lawyers with a good understanding of research tools.”

-Mark

Threats & Opportunities

We face threats/opportunities everywhere.  A threat can often become an opportunity; a mishandled opportunity becomes a threat. See below for some interesting examples I’ve recently found.

Unbundling legal services and document assembly services LegalZoom change who use lawyers and in turn how law libraries are viewed and ues.

Hiring private companies to run public libraries not only those in dire financial straits but also those doing ok.

BlockBuster filing for bankruptcy – failing to respond to changing competitors and letting 2 key factors slip: quality & quantity of inventory and customer service.

Big law firm upheavals - a consultant suggesting thousands of jobs may be lost, may or may not be realistic conclusions.  What is certain that the practice and business of law – and of all of those supporting the profession, the business and the education must change to cope.

Seizing the opportunity to distinguish oneself: Ace Hotels based in Seattle and succeeded with starting a hotel in a down economy

Libraries adapt technology to serve their users and the University of Scranton library explores smartphones and information literacy

Quick take – Library Snapshot Day

AALL’s sibling library association, ALA, sponsors an event called ‘day in the life of your library.’ See http://www.lita.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/statelocalefforts/snapshotday/index.cfm

It looks like it might be a fun and relatively easy way to promote law libraries to the larger community.

Law Library Lectionary

For additional background see my July column. The law library lectionary (LLL) provides a weekly outline for outreach activities:

  1. Teaching topics;
  2. Marketing tidbits about the library;
  3. Elevator speech topics;
  4. Messages for executives/decision makers in the parent organization;
  5. Scheduled events related to law libraries or.

Each week has a theme and each outreach activity touches on that theme. For example, National Library Week, the new term of the Supreme Court, Law Day, AALL annual meeting, income tax filing, significant events related to legal bibliography or research like the first treatise, reporter, regional reporter, legal encyclopedia, loose-leaf service, citator, etc.

Expanding on the outreach activities

  • Teaching topics suggest topics for presentations that last from 5 to 55 minutes about new research tools, new features, integrating technology in workflow, time management, analyzing results and websites for quality and currency, how to conduct and participate in a reference interview, leveraging library resources, etc.
  • Marketing tidbits cover factoids to share, questions to solicit information needs, content for blogs, newsletters, etc.
  • Elevator speeches for those 15 to 30 second opportunities to answer: ”what’s new in the library?” with suggestions of answers that might resonate with the questioner more than the “1,000 reference question answered this year.”
  • Messages for decision makers address keeping the library aligned with the institution’s strategic direction and reporting relevant, measurable activities.
  • Scheduled events would include what is happening in the various types of law libraries e.g. academic year calendars, summer clerk interview season, typical start & stop dates for summer clerks.  Other events might be the scheduled release of new editions or supplements, AALL deadlines for registering for an online educational program, submitting annual meeting proposals, Spectrum & LLJ copy deadlines, dues, annual meeting registration, etc.

Necessary steps, but not necessarily sequentially:

  1. Identify the names/themes for the weeks
  2. Solicit authors, contributors, editors while building on the crowd-sourcing idea.
  3. Consider whether the LLL must be completed before sharing it in the community.
  4. Is it an AALL member benefit and kept in the member only area or available to anyone?
  5. What to use to collect the suggestions?
  6. What format to electronically publish the LLL?
  7. What are the desired characteristics of the format? Static or dynamic? A wiki or a blog? A FaceBook-like page?
  8. Could we collect or link to the training materials posted on library web sites or content created by the various SISs and chapters?
  9. Who’s responsible? The AALL Publications Committee? A single person serving as whip/cheerleader? Spectrum? A new committee? (Such a committee might be comprised of carefully selected exemplars by library type/library function who offer their best advice, past presidents, some retired librarians, and newer law librarians.) Could it be crowdsourced?

10.  Is an editor needed for consistency in quality & format?

11.  How about a cataloger/classifier, indexer, metatager? to organize in consistent structure?

12.  How to capture ideas from each library type and from law librarians running the full range of experience and age.

13.  How to promote the collection and then the existence of the LLL?

14.  What about roll-out? Does roll-out wait until the LLL is complete? Or, is it rolled out as it Is compiled? Should there be a phased development and roll-out?  First a quarterly edition, then a monthly edition and then weekly edition?

15.  Could it use a rapid research and deploy approach like the Smithsonian Commons?

Please share your reactions, questions and suggestions for content of the LLL on the blog.



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