Building a Virtual Law Library on a Shoestring

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Blog Post

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The University of Baltimore School of Law moved into a beautiful light-filled, platinum LEED certified, 12-floor ultramodern building in spring 2013. The Library is on floors 7 to 12, and is more than 34,000 square feet. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that we have 9,946 linear square feet of shelving, with all but 1,826 linear feet occupied. We do not have any compact shelving or off-site storage, and due to severe budget constraints we will not have any in the future. Our space and revenue challenges dictate every single decision we make on our resources. We have no choice but to operate under the “just in time” collection and resource strategy. For us the “future” is now; but the true question is whether that strategy is an appropriate one for an academic law library whose primary mission is to support the curriculum and scholarly requirements of the students and faculty here at UB. After all, we are not a law firm with a defined practice; our patron’s interests are literally global. The most important questions are whether our collection and policies satisfy the ABA’s Standard 606 that requires us to provide our patrons with “essential materials through ownership or reliable access ….”