Academic law librarians: wallflowers or social butterflies?


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A paper presented at BIALL Conference, Newcastle June 2011 by Emily Allbon (City University), Maria Bell (LSE) & Wendy Lynwood (Birkbeck College). The paper explored the role of academic librarians and how relationships are built and maintained looking at both successes and challenges.

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  • Regardless of area, relationships are keyRest of session re. our own experiences and relationships across the institutionTalk briefly about the sorts of areas we’re going to look at, obvious ones such as with academics and students, but also relationships within our ‘own backyard’ – the library as well as central services such as IT, before considering librarians’ relationships with each other. (WL)
  • Academic law librarians: wallflowers or social butterflies?

    1. 1. Academic Law Librarians:Wallflowers or Social Butterflies? Emily Allbon @lawbore Maria Bell @bellmari Wendy Lynwood @wlynwood
    2. 2. Issues around HE libraries Increased pressure on Are we budgets - staffing and seen? collection development Are we visible enough to our institutions as services move online? User expectation vs. reality: e.g. what is wanted vs. what it is possible to supply Space split: Social vs. study Librarian role – What are we doing? Where do we fit?
    3. 3. Birkbeck  Founded 1823, joined the University of London 1913  98% students are part-time, 50% post graduate  Law school formed in 1991  Around 1200 students (800 FTEs) on CertHE, LLB, LLM, MRes and PhD, programmes  Research has a socio-legal focus  Library – 70+ staff, in terms of budget and physical space below average (1994 group figures)
    4. 4. City Law Dept at Northampton Square (1990) and ICSL at Grays Inn Place (1852) = City Law School 2004 Around 1200 students, covering LLB, GDL, LLM, LPC & BTPC. Growing PhD.
    5. 5. London School of Economics  Institution founded 1895 by Webbs, & G.B Shaw for research in social sciences  1900 →Univ. of London  2011: 9,000 students from 140 countries; high2010-11: postgraduate population 800LLB, LLM &  Library est. 1896; newPhD development 2001 80 staff  Law always part of LSE teaching
    6. 6. Where we fit…not just law librariansanymore! Pulled in all directions…
    7. 7. Teaching and learningOur relationships with:  Academics  Students  Academic support officers  Learning technologists  IT  Teaching and learning staff
    8. 8. Information Skills Teaching
    9. 9. City LLB1 – Teach core module Legal Method in tandem with lecturer - planning content together. Lectures, workshops Set/mark compulsory assessments Ad hoc teaching for other programmes PhD seminar series Occasional staff teaching
    10. 10. LSE LLB  Legal research lectures early in term in collaboration with academic staff  Work with individual academic staff to deliver legal research skills LLM  Lunchtime seminars mid year for dissertation prep. PhD  Research skills seminars in Michaelmas term Legal research skills on info skills programme – sign up classes Variable engagement with staff. Improvements each year in integrating skills teaching. Challenge is to keep momentum going.
    11. 11. Birkbeck LLB – lecture & sign-up sessions LLM – no formal slot but sign-up popularAcademic Support Officer= successful relationship
    12. 12. Resource provision  Collection  VLE  E-packs
    13. 13. Supporting Academics  Find out what their research interests are, and keeping them up to date with relevant information  Distribute information of forthcoming events to staff and students  Offer 1-2-1 training in their offices to showcase resources  Plug in to the wider School community – mooting, law clinic work etc.
    14. 14. ResearchGreat potential! Forging relationship with research divisions Showing extent of skills Traditional skills given new lease of life Repositories REF
    15. 15. Law School Administration Ideal partners Good way in to department
    16. 16. Central services  External Relations (incl. alumni) / Marketing  Careers  Other departments in the library  Learning technologists  IT
    17. 17. Your turn… ==DISCUSS==1.Your most successful &2. Your most challenging relationships. Why did they work/not work?
    18. 18. Example of post-its
    19. 19. Successful relationships  Timing  Accept that often things ‘just happen’  Respond to things quickly  Have something to show  Chemistry  Get involved socially
    20. 20. Tensions / issues that negativelyaffect relationships Lack of time Institutional / departmental politics Copyright law! Money – or the lack of it
    21. 21. Relationships with each other How do we build and maintain these? Could we be more effective in developing relationships and if so how? Law and beyond Have we got time, given increased pressures within day to day?
    22. 22. Thanks for listening!
    23. 23. Thanks for the images! Slide 1: ‘Butterfly and Wallflowers 1’ by sylvanfae Slide 2: ‘Perfekte Tarnung’ by DocSnyder Slide 3: ‘London pubs’ by Not forgotten Slide 5: Library International Law Reading Room, 1964 72157622616789324 Michael Peacock Atrium, 2001 Slide 6: ‘Tug of war’ Toffehoff Slide 7: ‘close connection’ by alles-schlumpf Slide 8: ‘Sharon Allen visits Mays’ by Mays Business School Slide 11: Students in computer room, c1990s 72157622618893958 Slide 12: ‘Plagiarism 3 - Michael Brunsden’ by photoeditorvision Slide 13: ‘Crimson, Indeed….’ by corydalus Slide 14: ‘Project 365 - Day 151 - 04/12/08’ by Peter Gerdes Slide 16: ‘keyboard’ by mactitioner Slide 18: ‘We want you’ by Jelle Vermeiren Slide 21: ‘ausgefranst’ by derpunk Slide 22: LSE Dinner in the Refectory, c1930s