Law Librarians Explained, a Law School Toolbox blog post

Link: Law Librarians Explained: Everything a 1L Should Know 

Although the context is for American law students, this is a good little introductory blog about law librarians.

Respect your law librarian—they are not just there to reshelf your books

John Passmore’s post includes quotable lines which are worth taking away for any of us explaining our law information service.

….don’t doubt a law librarian’s ability to dig just a little deeper and search just a little more precisely than you can

Even if it might have mentioned loose-leaf updating a bit more, it’s only an introduction to all the amazing stuff we do, after all, so I suppose not everything could fit in it.

Having a highly educated and experienced legal information professional in your corner is huge

If anyone has a comment on the Toolbox blog post or has one (or more!) blog posts they’d also like to share with the group, please let us know.


The Advocates Library: telling our stories through infographics

As a contribution to #librariesweek, Helen and Jane from the Advocates Library write about their use of infographics for highlighting library workings to service users.

There is always a need for libraries, of any sort, to look at ways to raise their profile and remind users of the value they offer.

Back in the spring Helen was thinking about ways to raise the profile of the library. As a result of a 3am light bulb moment she came into work with infographics on her mind. Co-incidentally Jane had also been looking into this method of communicating information in a gorgeous and eye-catching manner. We got quite excited.

As it is Libraries Week we thought we would share our recent experience of using infographics to promote Advocates Library services to our members. Two of our recent infographics are featured below. Save the images to view them larger.

Heart of the Advocates Library

The librarians at the heart of the Advocates Library

Helen saw infographics as an opportunity for marketing and raising awareness of the Advocates Library services with a method of displaying content in ways that would catch and hold our members’ attention. It was not going to present new or particularly complex information as such. It was felt best suited to information that can be given in a bite-sized form, wrapped in pretty packaging.

Jane assessed various infographic sites at the start but has settled on which provides an incredible level of content and functionality for free (more is available with a subscription). Piktochart offers a variety of templates but she tends to start from scratch with a blank page and build up our story for the month.

Each month Helen comes up with a theme idea. As it is discussed, a ‘story’ evolves about the message we are trying to convey. While Helen gathers statistics and information on the theme from departments within the Advocates Library, Jane lets the story develop in her mind.

By the time Helen has a factual outline of the infographic, Jane can get to work with a clear idea of what imagery she wants to create with it.

When Helen and Jane are happy with the result, the new infographic is disseminated as part of the Library news ebulletin and printed out for display at the main Enquiry Desk and remote library rooms.

The industry of the library

The industry behind answering an enquiry in the Advocates Library

Our member feedback has been very positive about the infographic series. We hope that on some level this approach to marketing our library services will improve their understanding of the “library” work done by library staff, much of which is undertaken behind the scenes and probably otherwise unawares by our members.

Libraries are always looking at ways to promote their services. For us, working in quite a traditional environment, we have found doing something relatively unexpected quite effective. We have had a chance to use our latent creative skills and think about alternative ways of communicating with our members. It has been a rewarding experience. We have ideas for the next few months but our challenge will be to keep telling our Library stories in interesting and attractive infographics in the months beyond.

Helen Robinson, Reader Services Librarian & Jane A Condie, Reader Services Assistant,
Advocates Library.

“More pure thought less word search” – SWOP event with talk on the lawyer’s use of a law library, given by Lord Carloway

For SLLG members and lawyers, this posting is especially informative because of the full text link to Lord Carloway’s talk on the lawyer’s use of print and online resources in the law library: past, present and future, presented at the SWOP event.
Click on ‘view original post’ link below.

SWOP Forum

There was  a good turn out for our SWOP meeting at the Supreme Courts yesterday.  We were delighted to welcome Alison Young from the Mitchell Library in Glasgow to the meeting as well as Kelly, Sarah Louise and Rebecaa from the  library service for the Scottish Courts.

supreme courts

Attendees enjoyed a tour of the Courts’ buildings which included the original cells, now used for storage and the ‘piano store’ which as well as a piano housed a coffin!

Jennie Findlay, Scottish Courts Services Library Manager, was our guest chair and introduced Lord Carloway, Lord President of the Court of Session.


His speech reflected on the fact that the Scots Legal System is based upon principle and not precedent  and whilst databases certainly aid research they must be used with caution and not replace research of core works and texts by legal greats. He has kindly made his speech availablefor those unable…

View original post 78 more words

SLLG guest lecture at University of Strathclyde, 16 March 2017

The Group’s ongoing outreach activity continued earlier this month in Glasgow. Our Secretary, Faye Cooke, returned to her alma mater to address postgraduates on the Information and Library Studies programme.

On a trip down memory lane (ie Rottenrow), I noted changes on campus – new shops, a large mural and Glasgow College looming above. Then again, it’s been six years since I took my last exam at the University of Strathclyde and entered the world of special libraries, the subject on which I had been invited to talk.


View from Livingstone Tower to Graham Hills Building

I made my way to the 14th floor of Livingstone Tower where all was reassuringly familiar, including the seminar room. No doubt testament to David McMenemy, Lecturer and Course Director, it was a great turnout for an afternoon session and I was relieved to be greeted by a friendly audience.

As they were to discover, I used to work in careers information and if I learnt one thing, it’s that students want practical tips and insider info. I therefore followed a rough plan:


  • Special libraries – definition and sectors
  • Special librarians
  • Law libraries – workforce stats
  • Law librarian role, eg budget and collection management, current awareness, etc.

My experience

  • My CV
  • Pros and cons of role/sector


  • Gaining experience
  • Professional bodies, incl. SLLG student project
  • Finding jobs and looking ahead

The slides can be viewed here (PDF)

I tried to be as honest as possible, admitting that when I began my postgraduate diploma, my understanding of potential sectors was pretty narrow. The opportunity to do a placement at a law firm, however, completely opened my eyes to special and, indeed, law libraries.

The main takeaway was the importance of professional engagement. Alongside hard work and a bit of serendipity, a good support network has been key to my career development thus far. As librarians in the Scottish legal sector, we often work either alone, remotely or small teams. Membership of professional bodies has helped me to gain knowledge and skills, and to feel part of something bigger.

One last tip for our future librarians: save all those thank you emails. Positive feedback is evidence of the impact our roles and services have. It’s also a reminder to me that I get to help someone and be a know-it-all at the same time. That’s why I go to work with a smile on my face (most days)!

The committee would like to thank the Computer & Information Sciences department at the University of Strathclyde and David McMenemy for allowing the SLLG to present a talk to their students.