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ALM: Today’s law librarians contribute to both practice and business of law

Redesign Research Today’s law librarians contribute to both the practice and business of law. How ‘digital first’ is changing their roles. By Steven Lastres

“Law librarians have been at the forefront of cost-cutting measures since the economic downturn descended in 2008. Dire times meant librarians had to rethink even the most basic assumptions about what products/services the law library delivers. They needed to question, rethink, and reimagine the library’s goals and opportunities in the new digital world and the “new normal” business climate. Take the law library’s physical footprint. It has been shrinking for more than a decade as resources have moved to digital rather than paper formats. In this new digital age, the importance of the library’s physical space in many ways is no longer relevant. Instead, in today’s business climate of information overload, librarians have shifted to a new way of serving lawyers. The new business mantra is: Libraries are a service, not a place. Librarians understand that they are running a business unit within their law firm. They are curators — selling a product/service (knowledge and information) to a market (lawyers) that needs to be serviced effectively (custom products/service), efficiently (at the right time), and cost-effectively (at the right price).”

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