Getting Users Out Of Their Seats

By Erik Y. Adams, Electronic Resources Librarian at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Erik Adams’ post below is reposted with permission from the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.  Published by the Research, Instruction, and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries, the RIPS Law Librarian Blog covers “trends in research, instruction, and patron services within today’s law libraries.”  Erik is a member of RIPS-SIS, and also a member of the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS).

In law firms we have struggled for years with how to get attorneys to stop relying on books, which are expensive to acquire, store, and maintain, and start using online resources. (Which are also expensive, but at least we aren’t the ones who have to acquire, store, and maintain them.) Recently, however, I had a problem new to my experience: an attorney who didn’t want to get out of his seat and use the print version.

This particular attorney wanted to read a section of the California Code. We offer several different ways to achieve this online via the firm’s intranet, and several of us have walked the attorney through the process multiple times. But in this particular instance, he wanted to look it up in the book. My firm has a complete copy of the California Codes in his location, but recently this office had been remodeled, and the attorney found he is on a different floor than the library. He could walk up one flight of very stylish stairs to the library, but that wasn’t nearly as convenient as when his office had been right next to the library.

Video game companies have wrestled for years with the problem of how to get gamers out of their chairs and into the world and to get more exercise. Nintendo had some success last year with the release of Pokemon Go, where the goals of the game could only be achieved by walking around your city, and by exploring new neighborhoods. Now, as electronic resources are taking over, I’m facing the exact same issue: how can I get attorneys out of their seats? Especially when, generally, that’s the best course of action? Continue reading

Making Access to Library Resources Seamless

By Ellyssa Kroski, Director of Information Technology, The New York Law Institute

[Editors’ note:  The New York Law Institute (NYLI), the oldest circulating law library in New York City, serves as a full information services organization, and offers its members materials in various formats, including 24/7 availability of electronic databases.  NYLI has an impressive collection of current, unique, historical and hard-to-find materials.   Membership provides access to significant print resources enhanced by remote access to an array of online databases, including eBooks.]

As an information services organization, we’ve always sought to offer our members effortless access to our resources.  To this end, we developed the capability for our members to integrate all of our bibliographic records into their own online catalogs.  At the time, we thought that this would make accessing our 300,000+ title print collection easier, as well as help streamline functions such as interlibrary loans.  After launching the initiative, the Seamless Catalog Module, we also gained an eBook collection boasting over 100,000 titles, making the access to our bibliographic records even more attractive.  The dozen member libraries who are using this application module have been able to instantly add all of those records into their own catalogs for their users.
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May/June AALL Spectrum Focuses on Technological Advancements

The May/June AALL Spectrum focuses on artificial intelligence, with a good cover story on “Artificial Intelligence: Legal Research and Law Librarians.” It’s worth a read.

There are also some valuable contributions from members of AALL’s Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section.

Beverly G. Butula, Reference Librarian at Davis & Kuelthau, S.C. teamed up with John Cannan of Drexel University to write an article, “Creating Engaging Digital Media to Promote Library Services.” The article “presents best practices and ideas to develop and implement quality technology-based programs” and recommends several free options to use for planning and delivering professional presentations. A Quick Links box includes links to a Digital Media Toolkit of presentation software, infographic tools, organizational tools, and polling resources; there is also a webinar you can view if you’re interested in learning more from Beverly and John.

– This month’s Ask A Director column focused on Technology Hot Buttons and featured Scott Bailey, Global Director of Research Services at Squire Patton Boggs. For Scott, the most pressing technology issues facing our profession revolve around the perception of what technology can do versus the reality. Scott expands on the concerns surrounding artificial intelligence, questions how real the threat is to current knowledge workers, and discusses how information professionals can use AI to their advantage.

– In Susan Catterall’s Reference Desk column, Susan answers a question about keeping up with and evaluating new resources.  Susan gives some good tips about using checklists and taking your target audience into account and also solicited recommendations from Abby Walters, who’s currently library director at the Minnesota Office of Attorney General, with prior experience in private law firm libraries.  Both Susan and Abby suggest developing and utilizing connections with colleagues and taking advantage of the benefits of AALL membership.

What’s Bothering Patent Law Librarians Today – LOTS! – And How I Found Out

By Lucy Curci-Gonzalez / Executive Director,  New York Law Institute

Every few semesters my good friend and colleague, Ralph Monaco, asks me to talk about patents and patent law research to his advanced legal research class at St John’s University Division of Library and Information Science.  I’ve been involved in  intellectual property law or IP (patents, trademarks, and copyrights) for much of my career, researching patents and patent law, and managing IP law boutique firm libraries.

“While we teach, we learn,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca.  The process of putting together the 90-minute lecture, PowerPoint, reading list, and a homework assignment is very daunting and very rewarding.  The greatest benefit of this effort is that teaching obliges you to keep up-to-date and forces you to find clear and concise ways of expounding on a topic. Best of all, it lets you play visiting adjunct grad school lecturer for the evening and meet the people coming up in the profession.

The lecture I gave this past March was no exception.  One of my PowerPoint slides I always do for this presentation deals with hot topics in IP research – the new and current pain points that law librarians experience dealing with vendors and publishers, the effect changes in the law or new case law have on the way they conduct research, and finally how the present economic landscape of the legal and legal information industries impacts the work of IP information professionals.   New law librarians need to think about how the present-day external business world will influence their careers.  Being aware of these issues gives them a leg-up in an interview or dealing with a new job, and gets them in the good habit of looking for patterns and trends throughout so they can be prepared for change rather than being forced to react to it. Continue reading

AALL Management Institute: Opportunities Granted


By Allison Reeve, Library Manager at Littler Mendelson, PC

Thank you to the PLLIP Grants Committee for awarding me the 2017 Management Institute Grant covering registration to the event. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow through my participation.

On Firmer Ground readers are not immune to, or unaware of, the exciting transformations occurring in law libraries today. Law firm librarians stay abreast of trends in the legal market, provide competitive intelligence, and inform client-facing and revenue-generating products.  They cultivate relationships with attorneys and practice groups so they can deliver relevant, on-point resource and research responses. Law library managers realize that the transformational challenges they face can also offer a myriad of opportunities, such as liaising between stakeholders and library staff to align strategic plans, motivating team members, and advocating for much needed resources.

Led by expert Maureen Sullivan, an Organizational Development Consultant at Maureen Sullivan Associates, the 2017 AALL Management Institute provided law library managers with tools and inspiration to guide teams and organizations through staff challenges, follow through on corporate visions, and enable personal growth. From my vantage point as a new manager, I found the boots-on-the-ground conversations exceedingly beneficial. Ms. Sullivan provided attendees time for individual reflection and small group discussions, and opened larger concepts up to the group forum. These shared experience dialogues fostered deeper understanding of challenges and provided real-world strategies for success.

The Client-Coach-Observer exercise is one that sticks with me. Groups of three took turns in which each individual played the role of client, or one who expresses an idea or challenge; coach, a mentor role guiding the client to a conclusion; or observer, who later advised the coach on her counseling communication skills. During this exercise, I appreciated the opportunity to discuss current projects my colleagues are working on and to practice coaching dialogue. I found myself most anxious during my turn as the observer, wanting to ensure I provided constructive notes to the coach. This session provided real-world conversation practice and the opportunity to share challenges and successes with colleagues. Continue reading