AACPLL Blog

Law Library News

Celebrating National Library Week: The 21st Century Library

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 10, 2018

Why libraries? Why law libraries?

The age of Google and smartphones may seem to put all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, but the reality is that we still need trained professionals to curate all that information, contextualize it and point us toward new sources an algorithm might miss. There is a serendipity in browsing the stacks of a library that the Internet has yet to replicate.

This from a Baltimore Sun editorial published last October that I clipped and saved : The 21st-century library .  It included a description of how libraries “are an indispensable font of information and support that enables them to meet life’s everyday challenges” and that “it’s not a stretch for them to see their mandates broadly and to seek to help those who come through their doors however they can.

This editorial was in reference to how the Pratt Library in Baltimore City would be making social workers available at neighborhood libraries.  I couldn’t help but compare the program to our Ask a Lawyer in the Library program offered in the courthouse and public library branches.

Law libraries long thought to be the province of lawyers and judges are now also the spot where anyone in need of legal information or referrals can find what they need to assist in solving legal issues.  As a result, public law libraries must find ways to meet the needs of these varied user groups. We are meeting those needs, through existing traditional resources still needed for lawyers and the court; and those resources created for the non-attorney.  We are lucky to have the Maryland People’s Law Library available.  We have also created FAQ pages available on the library’s Pro Bono and Self-Help Wiki. Librarians provide assistance to the non-attorney, too, by explaining legal research and the traditional sources of law. The law library has increased its digital resources and as a result, provides online assistance to attorneys and non-attorneys alike. The court law library is ever-changing as it adapts to changes in legal information and the users of that information, making it relevant as a 21st century library. The AACPLL is a 21st Century Library:

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