Dominican University

Graduate School of Library and Information Science

LS 788 - Law Librarianship




Gretchen E. Van Dam                                    EMAIL:

Circuit Librarian

William J. Campbell Library for                        Wednesdays 5:30pm - 8:30pm

      the U.S. Courts                                                Chicago Bar Association

219 S. Dearborn, Room 1637                       

Chicago, IL 60604

Telephone: (312) 435-5352

FAX: (312) 408-5031


Course Description


An introduction to law librarianship and the environment in which it operates, including law libraries in law schools, firms, and government. Includes an orientation to the legal field, a review of law library operations and administration, and discussion of library service models, personnel management and evaluation. Introduction to the profession of law librarianship and career management.  Topics include organization of services and space, financial management, and technology applications, including working with information publishers.


This course will provide the student with skills in the following Core Competencies as established by the American Association of Law Libraries ( for all law librarians including developing an understanding of and commitment to excellent client services, understanding and communicating within the culture of the library and its parent organization, a commitment to the Ethical Principles of the AALL and the shared values of librarianship, developing an understanding of and communication skills with publishers and other information vendors, and recognition of the value of professional networking and active participation in professional associations. 


This course will also provide the student with skills in the following Specialized Competencies as established by the AALL including aspects of Library Management (long-range planning, budget management, human resource management, space and facilities planning); Reference, Research, and Client Services (evaluation of print vs. electronic services in the context of budget management, management issues relating to creation of legal research tools); Information Technology (evaluating the need for and purchase of new and evolving technology, long-range budget planning for information technology purchases, coordination with IT personnel, management issues regarding library intra/internet pages); Collection Care and Management (collection development issues, physical space planning); Teaching (promotes the effective use of new technologies, acts as a liaison with outside providers of commercial research databases).  





There will be a four assignments over the course of the semester:  Two “How Do You Manage” Case Studies (15% each), one library site visitation review (30%), one paper on a law library-related topic of your choice (35%).  Class attendance and participation will be required and will count for 5% of the semester grade.  An important part of being a professional is meeting deadlines; due dates are firm.  


Class Participation


Class structure will be a combination of lecture and group discussion of topic of day/readings.  Each student will be asked to lead discussion for one class session.




There are a number of law library discussion groups that you might want to join this semester.  Law-Lib is the most popular and heavily used of the groups.  Instructions for subscribing are available at


A comprehensive list of law librarian and law-related discussion groups is available at






CLASS 1                                             Introduction to the organization of the class.  Review

January 22                                            of syllabus, readings, and assignments. 


Introduction to law librarianship and law libraries.

Different types of law libraries.




American Association of Law Libraries.  Competencies of Law Librarianship.  Approved March 2001.  (


Brock, Christine A.  Law Libraries and Librarians: A Revisionist History.  67 Law Library J. 325 (1974).


Houdek, Frank, ed.  A Day in My Law Library Life.  89 Law Library J. 159 (1997).  Snapshots of law library professional lives – pick 3 or 4 to read.




CLASS 2                                 -            Law Firm and Corporate Libraries/Structure, issues in

January 29                                            management, records management, billables, etc.


Guest Speaker: Joanne Kiley

 Michael Best & Friedrich


­                     State, Court, & County Law Libraries/Structure, issues

in management, etc.



Mingail, Sandra.   Changing Roles: The Corporate Law Librarian. (


Platt, Nina L.  The New Law Firm Library.  Faegre & Benson, LLP.  (


Pergament, Rachel.  Outsourcing in Law Firm Libraries.  (


Matzen, Constance M.  The Changing Role of the Law Firm Librarian.  RALLA (Raleigh Areas Law Librarians Association) LawSight.Com.


Sutphin, Sue.  The Role of the Law Librarian in Business Development.


Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section (AALL) web site:


State, Court & County Law Libraries Special Interest Section (AALL) web site:




CLASS 3                                 -            Academic Law Libraries/Structure, issues in management,

February 5                                           tenure, role within larger university.


Guest Speaker: Frederick Barnhart

   Loyola University Law Library


­                     Other law libraries: Prison libraries, government documents




Danner, Richard A.  Law School Libraries.


Houdek, Frank.  Thoughts on Becoming a Law Library Director.  6 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 81 (1986).


Lehmann, Vibeke.  Prisoners’ Right of Access to the Courts:Law Libraries in U.S. Prisons.


McKenzie, Betsy.  Just What is It Those Darned Law School Library Directors Do?  AALL Spectrum.  November 2001.


Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section (AALL) web site:


AALL.  Opportunities for Law Librarians at . . . (


Whisner, Mary.  Reference Librarians Do Not Work in Steel.  93 Law Library J. 601 (2000).



ASSIGNMENT:                                    Law Library Site Visitation Report

DUE DATE:            Wednesday, April 16                                   



CLASS 4                                             Law Library Organization and Structure.

February 12                                         Personnel (professional and paraprofessional), management issues.  Technical vs. Public Services. Legal Issues

and employment practices and human resources.  Hiring, interviewing, performance evaluations.  Communication and team building. Diversity.




Dragich, Martha J.  Organizational Structure in Law Libraries: A Critique and Models for Change.  81 Law Library J. 69 (1989).


Wehrle, John.  New Program’s The Answer to Library Need: Paraprofessionals Will Work at Desk.  St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 6, 2001. (copy provided by instructor).


Wallace, Marie.  Listen Up: Communication Depends on Learning to Listen.  July 5, 2000.  (


Bennett, Donna S.  Effectively Managing the Human Side of Change.  89 Law Library J. 335 (1997).


Chandler, Yvonne J.  Why is Diversity Important for Law Librarianship?  90 Law Library J. 545 (1998).


Custer, Joseph A.  Managing Internal Administrative Change.  92 Law Library J. 71 (2000).

Briscoe, Georgia.  Climb High: High Altitude Mountaineering Lessons for Librarians.  92 Law Library J. 217 (2000).


Thomas, Joe.  Technical Services: The Library’s Foundation.  AALL Spectrum, April 2000.


Marion, Phyllis.  Why Technical Services is Good Preparation for Being a Library Director.  AALL Spectrum.  May 2001.


Hazelton, Penny.  Grief in the Workplace.


ASSIGNMENT:                                    How Do You Manage?  Case Study #1

DUE DATE: Wednesday, February 26




CLASS 5                                             Information Technology.  Working with the IT department.

February 19                                         Managing the impacts of technology on staff, users.           




Skalbeck, Roger V.  Shared Technology Landscape: Issues in MIS and Library Relations and Communications.  June 15, 2000.  (


Lewis, Sheri.  Ten Things for Law Librarians to Do When Managing Technology.  (




CLASS 6                                             The Legal Publishing Industry.

February 26                                         Guest Speakers:            Priscilla Stultz

Bridget MacMillan


Lori Hedstrom

West Group


Review and discussion of Case Study #1


Dethman, John.  Trust v. Antitrust:Consolidation in the Legal Publishing Industry. 21 Leg. Ref. Svcs. Qtrly. 123 (2002)


Woxland, Thomas A, et al.  Landmarks in American Legal Publishing.  (1990)


AALL Committee on Relations With Information Vendors (CRIV).  Any issue of CRIV Sheet available at


Legal Publishers List (

CLASS 7                                             NO CLASS - SPRING BREAK

March 5




CLASS 8                                             NO CLASS

March 12



CLASS 9                                             Budget Management and acquisitions.  Consortiums

March 19                                             and consortium acquisitions.  Space planning.





Hounshell, JoAnn.  Going Paperless: Trend in Acquisition.  AALL Spectrum. October 2001.


Axtmann, Margaret Maes.  The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: Collection Development in the 21st Century.  AALL Spectrum, November 2001.


Edwards.  Planning and Constructing Law School Buildings:Ten Basic Guidelines.  90 Law.Lib.J. 423 (1998).


French, Thomas.  Change is in the Air: Law Librarians Share How They Accommodate Construction and Renovation Projects at Their Libraries.  AALL Spectrum.  May 2001.


Tilevitz, Sarah Laidlaw.  Reconciling Space and Access Needs in a Small Law Firm Library: A Modest Proposal.  88 Law Library J. 96 (1996).


Wilhemus, David W.  Law Libraries and the American With Disabilities Act: Making Law Libraries Accessible to the Visually Impaired.  86 Law Library J. 299 (1994).



ASSIGNMENT:                                    How Do You Manage?  Case Study #2

DUE DATE:            Wednesday, April 2




CLASS 10                                           Legal Research training and instruction.  Distance learning

March 26                                             and its impact on services.





Staheli, Jennifer.  Introducing Students to Legal Practice Materials.  16 Legal Ref.Services Qrtrly 23 (1998).

Lynch, Michael J.  An Impossible Task But Everybody Has to Do It - Teaching Legal Research in Law Schools.  89 Law Library J. 415 (1997).


Coffman, Steve.  Distance Education and Virtual Reference: Where are We Headed?

21 Computers in Libraries No. 4, Page 20 (April 1, 2001).


Danner, Richard.  Strategic Planning for Distance Learning in Legal Education:Initial Thoughts on a Role for Libraries.  21 Leg. Ref. Svcs. Qtrly. 69 (2002)


Long, Ann.  Get Your Library Ready for Distance Education.  AALL Spectrum.  May 2000.


Van Dam, Gretchen.  Web Tutorials for Teaching Legal Research.  Jurist - Lessons From the Web. (




CLASS 11                                           The profession of law librarianship and career options

April 2                                      and management.  Law Librarian associations.

Foreign and International law librarianship.


Guest Speakers: Representative from CALL,



Review of Case Study #2




Proceeding of the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries, Orlando, Florida (July 20-25, 2002).  94 Law Library J. 691 (2002).


Whisner, Mary.  Choosing Law Librarianship:Thoughts for People Contemplating a Career Move.  (


AALL Task Force to Enhance Law Librarianship Education web site -


Houdek, et al.  alt.lawlibrarian: New Career Paths for Law Librarians.  93 Law Library J. 375 (2001).



CLASS 12                                           Internet and Intranet.  Law Library web pages.

April 9                                      Marketing your library.





Dam, Jennifer.  Marketing the Law Firm Library Via the Intranet.  5 Legal Div. Qtrly, No. 3, Special Libraries Assn.  (



Rogers, David.  Marketing Library Services to Summer Associates and First Year Associates: Rethinking and Retooling After Looking at the Numbers.  CALL Bulletin. 


Chick, Cindy L.  Jumpstart:Writing an Annual Report for a Law Firm Library.  (


Curci-Gonzalez, Lucy.  All I Really Need to Know About Law Library Marketing I Learned Watching Commercials During the Super Bowl.  AALL Spectrum, March 2000.



CLASS 13                                           Strategic planning - imagining the law library of the

April 16                                                future.




Accardo, Janet.  Library Directors as Knowledge Managers.  2 Practice Innovations, No.3 (October 2001) (copy provided by instructor).


Billings, Carol.  Welcome to Our Library . . . Well, Sort Of.  AALL Spectrum, February 2000.


Edmonds, Edmund and Margaret Maes Axtmann.  A Law Library in the New Century:The Creation of the University of St. Thomas Law Library.  21 Leg. Ref. Svcs. Qtrly. 177 (2002).



CLASS 14                                           Presentation of Library Site Visit Reports.

April 23




George, et al.  Care and Maintenance of the Successful Career: How Experienced Law Librarians Make Their Work Rewarding.  93 Law Library J. 535 (2001).



CLASS 15                                           Final Wrap up.

April 30                                                LAW LIBRARY ISSUES PAPER DUE