Archive for the 'AALL Spectrum Issues' Category



September/October Issue of Spectrum Online

The September/October 2011 issue of AALL Spectrum is available online in PDF format. This month’s issue includes:

Also, readers respond to this month’s Member to Member question: Which e-reader do you use and why?

Paper copies mail out to members on September 28, so look for them in your mailboxes soon.

July issue of Spectrum online

The July issue of AALL Spectrum is available online in PDF format, featuring:

Also, readers respond to this month’s Member to Member question: What is your favorite AALL Annual Meeting memory?

Paper copies mail out to members on June 28, so look for them in your mailboxes soon.

Law Library Architecture Profile: Melbourne Law School Library

MLS Law Library's student area before the renovations

MLS Law Library's student area before the renovations

The challenge was to create a separate, comfortable, study space for the exclusive use of University of Melbourne law students whenever theLaw Building is open.

In 2002, Melbourne Law School (MLS) moved to a modern corporate looking office building, glass and steel, black, gray and white on both the inside and the outside. The Law Library occupies two and a half floors of the building and is open to all who wish to use the facility. It is heavily used by non-law students, especially around exam time. Not surprisingly, the Law School student representatives approached the Law School administration with a request for a separate, quiet study area open longer than regular Law Library hours and for the exclusive use of MLS students.  In February, 2010, the first stage of the project began.  Half of the third floor of the law library, including three PC labs was made into an area accessible from the lobby by MLS students using their student cards activated as swipe cards.  The creation of the separate study area meant that the Reference Collection had to be removed. High use items from the former Reference Collection were moved to the Reserve Collection,  while other reference items were moved to a separate new shelving area on the fifth floor and the waist high, reference shelves were donated  to a suburban school. Take note, the disappearance of the Reference Collection from a high traffic area was barely noticed by any library users. MLS students needed more study space. In place of the wooden reference shelves, we added additional chairs and tables from storage.

From the end of June to mid August, 2010, the separate study area was closed and all the furniture disappeared.  A staff office and one small

The new law student area

The new law student area

PC Lab were removed to take advantage of the lovely leafy view across University Square Park.  The two smaller, original PC labs were re-configured to create one teaching lab for 30 students. The large PC lab for sixty students remained “as is”.  Both PC labs and the bathrooms were made accessible via a newly created corridor from the third floor lobby and the student printers and print stations were moved to the corridor.  The architect, Steve McIldowie and designer, Simon Carver worked with the builders to transform the large drab shell into an attractive scholarly study space, offering a choice of different work spaces separated by attractive wooden partitions in white oak, and providing a variety of ergonomically correct seats – 137 in all.  Students can sit in the comfortable seating area near the entrance, sit at large board room tables for ten, share smaller tables with one or two other students, sit at benches either facing the park or for more private, focused study,  students can sit at study carrels that face a wall.

MLS law library's new law student area

MLS law library's new law student area

The new lighting is designed for a study area. Gone are the sterile, white walls. The newly painted walls are beige and an earthy shade of red.  To add more color, randomly selected, gray carpet tiles have been replaced with deep red and gold carpet tiles.  A final touch was the installation of artwork on loan from the University of Melbourne’s Potter Gallery.  A small sign at the entrance, reminds the students that they are expected to leave the area to speak on their mobile/cell phones and to eat, however beverages are permitted.  From the first day, MLS students have entered the area and settled into quiet study. The renovation has been a resounding success.

Carole Hinchcliff is the Law Librarian at Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne,
Australia.

“Cramped; Crowded” to Comfortable Research Commons: Indiana University Law School – Indianapolis

Ruth Lilly Law Library Research Commons Ren 1-1

The Ruth Lilly Law Library Research Commons

The renovation was originally scheduled to begin in July and be completed well before the start of classes in August 2010. However, numerous construction delays created a dilemma for the Ruth Lilly Law Library – put off the renovation of the out-of-date cramped and crowded reserve room or commence a two-month construction project just days before the start of classes. In anticipation of previous construction start dates, reserve materials had been weeded and relocated, shelving disassembled and stored, and a reference solution designed. Thus taking the long view, the library proceeded with the renovation to create a research commons that encourages collaboration and student use.

Identifying goals

The library, built in 2001, included a reserve room designed to house eight walk up on-line catalogs, a large now-rarely used reserve print collection located on index tables, a copier room and an awkward reference area.

Ruth Lilly Law Library Research Commons Ren 2-1

Another view of the research commons

The goal was to create an open inviting collaborative research space for students and faculty that would include both soft seating and carrel seating and repurpose the unused copier room. In addition, reference librarians desired a reconfigured reference desk that would be more visible to patrons and enable them to provide more lengthy reference consultations in addition to responding to brief reference questions.

Minimizing the disruption

No renovation comes without disruption. Acknowledging this fact, the library sought to minimize the impact on students and faculty. High use print materials were relocated on the first floor for the duration of the renovation. These print materials were supported with extensive pull-out shelving to compensate for the lack of work tables in the stacks.

Reference librarians provided reference service from the circulation desk and escorted students to their offices via a route through the public services work area and a long plastic encased walkway. Given the careful planning, there was no disruption to reference or other library services during the renovation.

Ruth Lilly Law Library Reserve Room Before Renovation

The Ruth Lilly Law Library before renovations

Just as no renovation comes without disruption, no renovation comes without surprises and delays. Ironically the most inconvenience arose from taking the “JagTag” machine offline; the machine is used by students to load credit onto a student’s id card for printing and other on-campus services. Taking the only JagTag machine in the law school offline required students to travel to another campus building for JagTag services.

Although demolition and construction finished within the anticipated time, furniture delays extended the project. There was much student ribbing about the new yoga space while the library awaited furniture delivery. Students returned from Thanksgiving break to a fully furnished exciting new collaborative space.

The research commons includes a reconfigured reference desk; selected print materials; a “New Titles shelf;” and 45 seats, including eleven carrels. Students have multiple options– shared tables, conversation areas or study carrels. Seating and work space is positioned for ease of use of the remaining print materials and food and beverages are permitted. Since opening, the research commons has become a popular and vibrant area in the library.

Catherine Lemmer is head of information services at the Indiana University School of Law–Indianapolis Ruth Lilly Law Library.

Oklahoma City University’s New Art and Photograph Collection

special collectionsIn the fall of 2010 Robert Henry, former Chief Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, became the president of Oklahoma City University. Prior to his judicial appointment President Henry served as the dean of OCU School of Law and a tenured professor of law.  Along with his many skills and energy he brought with him an impressive art collection some of which he generously donated to the law library. The diverse collection of donated and loaned artwork included signed United States Supreme Court photos from the early 20th century, numbered and signed prints of work completed by Oklahoma’s most famous Native American artists, artwork by Oklahoma and federal judges, group portraits of the Tenth Circuit judges in their chambers and courtroom, and a Ukrainian campaign poster from the 2004 presidential election; the results of which sparked the Orange Revolution.  We have appropriately named our new collection of art “The Henry Collection.” What made this project interesting (and fun) is that it went beyond a simple redecorating project; temporarily turning this law librarian into an art curator and self-appointed docent.

Built in 1954 Oklahoma Gold Star Memorial building originally housed the School of Religion before eventually being converted to a law library. Others with older buildings and constrained budgets know the maintenance alone can be overwhelming; trying to keep the décor modern and pleasing is even more difficult.  The installation of this collection has substantially added to the aesthetics of our aging building. The artwork and photographs fit well with OCU Law Library’s growing Native American print collection and collection of Oklahoma Supreme Court photographs and memorabilia. But our project went beyond hanging pictures. To add value for our patrons, we thoughtfully developed displays with museum style labels that provide the physical details of the artwork as well as background about the artist. This aspect was particularly challenging.  First we had to identify the author, title of the piece, and date of the work.  To do this we consulted resources ranging from the artists’ personal website, online retailers selling prints, discussion forums, and even Wikipedia.

Cumbo trioThe construction of the museum style labels presented the next round of challenges. We discovered that the equipment often used by art museums such as foam board cutters and screen printers were beyond our price range and expertise level for this project. We were finally able to find an art supplier who sold pre-cut foam board. Then we printed the information on white card stock and glued it to the foam board with spray adhesive. Finally, our reference assistant spent a great deal of time carefully trimming the cardstock on the labels with an exact-o blade.

Henry The Henry Collection breathed new life into the building and the pieces have started a number of lively conversations between patrons and staff.  The art and their labels have provided another mechanism to engage students and faculty and build a sense of community pride in our library and school.

Jennifer Prilliman is reference and student services librarian at the Oklahoma City University Law Library.

Miami Firm Celebrates New Library

Bilzin Sumberg Photo No. 1In mid-2009, the Miami law firm of Bilzin Sumberg made a decision to move into a newly constructed building in the Brickell section of downtown.  This decision provided an opportunity to build a 21st century library for the firm.

The outdated library at our previous location was laid out on two floors, connected with a staircase in the middle and had two smaller practice group libraries on separate floors.  The library had been downsized over the years and all of the study and reading space was taken over by  records and office space.  Attorneys had to stand in the aisles trying to read the books or take them back to their desks.  Additionally, when the library was originally built, it had only one staff office and there was no thought given to using electronic resources through the library.  With a staff of three we needed more staff work space as well as the ability to use the library space for training in print and electronic resources for attorneys and paralegals.

We took the opportunity to not only redefine our space,  but also to redefine our image as a necessary and value-adding resource.  For example, for the firstBilzin Sumberg Photo No. 1 time in firm history, the books are barcoded, the entire collection is cataloged, and self-checkout for materials is available.  The library now also features laptop connectivity, and community desktop computers, in keeping with our dedication to the 21st century user.  We also devised a layout that included staff workspaces that were designed with workflow in mind.   In the staff area, we built a low counter for mail and book box delivery so that we don’t have to bend over or lift the boxes in order to open them that is connected to a long counter for processing materials.  In addition, this counter has plenty of storage for handouts and supplies.

The main library footprint was reduced by nearly a third, from 1587 sq ft to 1082 sq ft, and yet we were able to maximize the space by incorporating a mix of high density shelving for the large reporter sets, perimeter wall shelving for the practice specific materials, and 2 sets of low shelving in themiddle of the room so that users have easy access to stand and browse books.  We also added an eight-person conference table with data and power jacks and a 55″ monitor, so we are now able to conduct regular training, and vendor demonstrations in the library, and lawyers can bring their laptops to the library to plug into the network or use the available wireless access.  We also added a wall of study carrels with computers and a space on the end for the self-checkout machine.

Bilzin Sumberg Photo No. 3We moved into our new space in October 2010 and the response from the firm has been overwhelmingly positive. The new library has proven so popular that we initiated monthly Library Happy Hours, where we conduct short training sessions, while we network with attorneys and staff.  Our in-person usage has increased dramatically and the library was a “must see” stop for all of the open house tours for clients and alumni.

Paul VanderMeer is director of the library and knowledge management at Bilzin Sumberg  Baena Price and Axelrod  in Miami, Florida.

May issue of Spectrum online

Also, readers respond to this month’s Member to Member question: What would you suggest as a new title for Spectrum and why?

Paper copies mailed out to members on April 26, so look for them in your mailboxes soon.


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