February 24, 2018

Survey Shows Law Libraries Changing with Technology

By LJ Staff

Books are becoming less and less important, but law librarians are gaining
more clout than ever—and technology is driving both shifts, according to
American Lawyer‘s June Amlaw Tech supplement, featuring the results of a
first-ever survey of law librarians. According to the survey, books are quickly
becoming “historic relics” among the nation’s law firms, which rely on legal
database products from WestLaw and Lexis-Nexis.

According to the survey, 55 percent of the law librarians
who responded to the survey of the 200 largest law firms in America reported
that their libraries have cut back on shelf space in the past five years. Many
noted that their libraries are canceling subscriptions to law reviews, legal
encyclopedias and digests. While law libraries may be taking up less office
space, they are not necessarily taking up less space in the budget or in the
firm operations. The survey also showed that just 16 percent of librarians saw
their library budgets shrink in 2002. The report further found that, while
research has become easier using electronic products, 88 percent of responding
librarians are now responsible for at least some computer-based
training in their firms.