Law Library Budgets & Staffing On the Rise

The 2017 AALL Biennial Salary Survey & Organizational Characteristics Survey shows that budgets and staffing for law libraries are on the rise, according to an article in the January/February issue of AALL Spectrum.

Some key figures/takeaways from the survey results include:

  • More than half, 270, of the 502 responses were from law firm/corporate libraries.
  • Budget information was provided by 366 law firm/corporate, government, and law school libraries. When compared with law school and government law libraries, law firm/corporate law libraries had larger budgets on average ($1,577,734). But law firm/corporate libraries “allocated only 25 percent of their information budget in 2017 to hard copy information” (p. 39).
  • Law firm/corporate library budgets were 10 percent higher than in the 2015 survey.
  • Staffing totals for all libraries show that the “the average number of total staff for all libraries increased from 9.23 in 2015 to 10.32 in 2017” (p. 40).
  • On average, firms had a ratio of 1 professional for every 42.99 attorneys.
  • For billable hours in 2016, the ranges were from “a low of 300 hours for law firm/corporate law libraries with 41-90 attorneys to a high of 4,206 hours for those with 451 or more attorneys”  (p. 40).

More statistics are available in the AALL Spectrum article Budgets & Staffing for Law Libraries are on the Rise, starting on page 40 of the magazine. The complete Salary Survey is available here to AALL members only.

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Collection management 2016: from anecdotal to analytic

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By Sarah Lin, Library Systems Librarian at Reed Smith LLP

If you attended SLA’s recent Lawmaggedon webinar, you may have heard Jean O’Grady reference the term  ‘anecdata’ — usage data based on the anecdotal, in the absence of any hard (or soft) usage data.  I have seen the anecdotal trump data over the years: most notably a strong protest against a cancellation, only to find a thick layer of dust in front of the item in question.

Of course, our print collection continues to decline and so many technical services tasks now revolve around digital materials, but the physical books are still here.  When faced with competing budget priorities, how do you know what you can really cut?  I’d like to offer a few suggestions to discover real data regarding print usage.

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Representing the value and usage of a print collection

by Helen Mok, Librarian, Parlee McLaws, LLP, Calgary, Alberta

Does anyone use books anymore?  I can find everything I’m looking for online, can’t I?  Do we really need a print collection?  Librarians hear these questions frequently today.  In the law library field, the answers to these questions are yes, no, and yes.  However, as organizational budgets tighten and the need for office space increases, librarians may face pressure to reduce or possibly eliminate their print collections.  How can we show the value of our print material in response to these pressures? Continue reading