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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1 Response to “Law Library Lectionary”


  1. 1 Joel Fishman July 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Mark:

    I love this idea. I think it is a great way for everyone to share materials without inventing the wheel every time. Perhaps form a small committee from different sections (people with different expertise) to review the idea and help expand on it in answering the questions posed.


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