In order to stay informed and keep up communication with others in our profession, the Law Library participates heavily in the Greater Philadelphia Law Libraries Association (GPLLA), which holds many social and educational events throughout the year. Last month, Villanova hosted GPLLA’s annual Institute, titled “Expanding the Role of Law Libraries: Increasing Our Profile and Resources Without Increasing Our Budgets.” We had attendees from academic, firm, and private law libraries throughout the area, all interested to learn more about how others are innovating and pushing to do more for our patrons.
The first presentation of the day was led by Villanova’s own Amy Spare and Lori Corso (who is also the Vice President / President-Elect of GPLLA), and it covered free, public, and academic resources that are available to legal researchers. The importance of emerging free or low-cost sources was highlighted because it is becoming very important for libraries to “expand” their holdings and breadth despite tightening budgets, so it is more and more important for us to be aware of all the tools at our disposal. The presenters covered a number of interesting sources, along with some new uses and features of “old standard” sites.
Second, Lori led a round table discussion about project management, which is becoming a hot topic among libraries as we are expected to spearhead increasingly complicated initiatives. After a brief summary of the issues that face potential project managers and presenting the results of a survey given to GPLLA members, we broke into small groups to put ourselves in the shoes of someone tasked with starting a new project at our institution, to figure out the major obstacles and what strategies we would use to implement the project, “sell” it to superiors and stakeholders, and tackle other obstacles along the way.
Finally, Heidi Heller, the Director of Research and Information Services at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, gave her presentation titled “It’s Free: Connecting with Your Clients to Raise Your Library’s Profile.” Heidi discussed a number of interesting aspects of the firm side of legal research, including efficient allocation of resources, communicating with the “millennial” generation, and some tips to increase customer service and engagement with the attorneys so that they remain aware of the services the library provides.
After a day of fascinating sessions, the group relaxed with a happy hour at Gullifty’s down the road, a great ending to a fulfilling and thought-provoking institute!