Monday, February 16, 2015
I took this photo while visiting a law school that will remain nameless because I didn't ask for permission to post it (though I'm quite certain the school would be far from ashamed to be named). Libraries are going digital, and budget pressures make it difficult to justify maintaining print publications. Most law firm and county libraries have long since cancelled their print subscriptions, driving up the publication costs for the few remaining (mostly law school) buyers.
Colin Picker over at Law School Vibe suggests that:
the law schools within a city or region should consolidate their collections together, in the process reducing unnecessary duplication. That consolidated collection could be stored in a suitable warehouse. The consolidated library books could then be electronically identified and ordered as needed by students or academics from participating law schools....
This may be a viable option for materials not yet available digitally, such as traditional academic books. But for everything else -- case reporters, law journals, etc. -- I suspect the answer will be outright replacement with digital materials.
Shelves at many law libraries already are tagged with a note indicating that the shelved material is no longer kept up-to-date. Rows of discontinued publications already look antiquated; it's only a matter of time (and a reversal in the decline in law school admissions) before libraries are pressured to discard the paper and repurpose the space.