The Texas Tech Law Library is dedicated to providing the services that the Law School needs to be successful! The Law Library does this by incorporating all six ABA standards for “Library and Information Resources” including; 601 General Provisions, 602 Administration, 603 Director of the Law Library, 604 Personnel, 605 Services, and 606 Collection into our daily work. Our Annual Report shows how we meets the personnel, services, and collection goals included in the ABA standards. Through meeting these standards, the Law Library is huge part of our student-centered law school developing effective, ethical lawyers and leaders for Texas and for the diverse world of the 21st century.
Expertise, Services, and Resources
The expertise of our employees, our resources, and our services defines who we are and are the backbone of our library. Here are some of the services and resources we offer our students and faculty during FY2018-19.
Librarian and staff expertise is demonstrated in many different ways. The Law librarians teach for-credit classes in a wide variety of topics; which highlights their varied backgrounds and interests. For example, one of our professors has a background in information technology and she not only manages our electronic databases and digital repository but she also teaches a class in Law and Science Legal Research which has a strong technology component. Another Law librarian is interested in foreign and international research. She not only blogs about Foreign and International legal research but she also teaches a class in Foreign, Comparative, & International Research. Because of this expertise, our faculty librarians are able to bring a passion to their teaching and the topics they love.
Here are some of the for-credit classes that our librarians taught this fiscal year.
♦ Texas Legal Research
♦ Civil Trial: Practice & Litigation Material
♦ Foreign, Comparative, & International Research
♦ Law and Science Legal Research
♦ Academic Legal Writing
Each of these classes were taught during either the fall 2018 or spring 2019 semester.
Our staff also bring a world of knowledge and support to the Law Library. Our Circulation Desk is billed as the place to go for any of your questions or needs. Our Circulation staff are well trained and able to help patrons with any questions they have. Staff are able to guide patrons where they can receive the assistance they need.
Most of our Circulation staff have 15+ years of experience and have a deep understanding of the Law School, which enable them to provide excellent service. Our staff is also friendly and enjoys our students. Our staff participate in events with the students and help to provide a welcoming atmosphere.
Sometimes you need a break from the stress of law school. It does not matter who you are, student, faculty, staff; we all need some stress relief! The Law Library offers a wide array of stress busters and fun events for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the events that were offered during FY2018-19.
♦ National Library Week and Trivia Night
♦ Poetry Slam (co-sponsored with BLSA)
♦ Various displays; Women’s History Month
♦ Coloring pages (come-and-go activity)
♦ Games (come-and-go activity)
♦ Peanut Butter & Jelly & a Demo (peanut butter & jelly sandwich
fixings and a database demo)
♦ Participated in #Shelfie Day
The Law library is focused on improving communication with our patrons through different types of social media interaction. The Law Library has social media pages on Twitter, Facebook, and The Reporter (blog). All of our social media activity is interrelated; for example, a blog post in The Reporter is also promoted on Twitter and Facebook.
The Law Library has started pushing our social media presence during the last few fiscal years. Check out both our Twitter page, https://twitter.com/techlawlibrary?lang=en and Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TTULawLibrary/. See for yourself what you are missing!
On our social media pages, the Law Library promotes what is occurring at the Texas Tech Law School. Our accounts retweets posts from our faculty, promotes faculty publications and achievements, as well as activities that occur at the Law School. This holistic approach makes our accounts a one-stop place to find out what is happening at the Law School and helps the promotional activities of our Communications Departments and the Office of Academic Success Programs (OASP). This way we are all working together for the success of our students and faculty.
The resources we offer our patrons come in many forms. We have our people resources, librarians and staff who all work together to ensure that our faculty and Law School staff have what they need to be successful. We also offer informational resources; our knowledge, materials, and our ability to pass that information along whether it be in a classroom or at the circulation desk. We also provide necessary stress outlets and fun events to help foster a close-knit environment that supports our faculty and students. We also provide ways to pass this information along to our patrons. One way we do that is through our message board.
Our message board displays signage to promote events, resources like new databases, information (safety information, changes to hours, etc.), encouraging messages, contests, and programs. The message board is outside the library entrance so everyone in the building can see what is happening in the law library.
Another resource we offer our students is study room space. The Law Library offers three small group study rooms and three larger media equipped study rooms. These rooms are available on a first-come-first-served basis and help provide much needed study space in the library. These rooms may be reserved or booked through an on-line system which is available through our automated library system.
Another, very popular, resource is our LibGuides. The Law Library has curated a collection of over 70 LibGuides on a wide variety of topics. The LibGuides are generally designed to reinforce material taught in various classes; including classes taught in the ELR program, doctrinal classes, and other programs like our Technology CLE. During FY2018-19 there were 36,076 total views of our LibGuides! This is a 6% usage increase over last fiscal year. Views of the top ten LibGuides represent 59% of the total views or 21,241 views. The chart below illustrates the top ten LibGuides and their total number of views.
Our resources make up a significant part of the services offered to Law Library patrons. These resources provide a needed service and offer a huge benefit to our patrons!
Law Library Faculty & Staff (students)
During FY2018-19, there were many happy occasions and reasons to celebrate, but we also saw the departure of one of our librarians, Marin Dell, who left to continue her education. We wish Marin the best in her future endeavors!
Congratulations also goes out to our Staff Employee of the Year, Sal Becerra! Sal makes sure the library and the rest of the law school are in tip-top shape and always has a joke to make us smile. A well-deserved award for a hard-working employee!
Reference and Instruction
What many consider the heart and soul of a Law Library are the Reference and Instruction departments. These two areas make up the majority of the services offered by the Law Library and have the most direct impact on how the library serves the Law School.
The Law Library has a dedicated person available for reference assistance, which allows us to provide reference service 52 hours per week. Librarians are not sitting at a desk; instead, librarians are in their offices providing on-call services. This allows the librarians to monitor the reference email, work on other projects, and be available for reference calls from the Circulation desk.
Librarians receive the majority of their reference questions from people either going to their offices or receiving questions if via e-mail and over the phone. The chart below shows this break-down.
The vast majority of the 270 reference questions librarians received are from students. 75% of the questions librarians answer are from students! The remaining questions come from the public, faculty/staff, and others.
(NOTE: In this graphic, the majority of faculty reference services are maintained in a different system and discussed elsewhere.)
During the past three fiscal years, the Faculty Law librarians have increased their teaching and other interaction time with students and faculty. The Faculty Law librarians believe that the increase in time and variety of interactions will help the law students be more productive, better educated, and maintain positive mental health.
Our Faculty Law librarians offer a number of non-credit instruction opportunities for law students, faculty, undergraduate students, and legal professionals. During FY2018-19 the Faculty Law librarians taught a total of 166 sessions for 2,573 students, faculty, undergraduates, and legal professionals!
Faculty Law librarians teach these classes to help make concrete connections to the Law School’s program of legal education. The Faculty Law librarians help further this purpose through their various types of instruction.
Our Faculty Law librarians are on the forefront of legal instruction. The Faculty Law librarians consciously strive to use new and innovative techniques, including using formative and summative assessments in all the classes they teach; both for-credit and non-credit classes. Below are some of the types of instruction the Faculty Law librarians conduct.
The Faculty Law librarians are on the tenure track and part of their tenure requirements is to teach for-credit courses. The Faculty Law librarians focus on engaging with students and helping them fulfill their goals of becoming practice-ready lawyers. All of the for-credit classes help student outcomes by including various legal proficiencies within each of the for-credit courses. Faculty Law librarians also provide guest classroom presentations in other classes, teaching on various aspects of legal research.
Texas Tech Law School provides a limited number of distant education classes, one of these taughts by our Faculty Law librarians. Faculty Law librarians also help other faculty with their Blackboard class sites. Through their efforts, Faculty Law librarians are at the forefront of distance education technology and best practices. This allows us to help our faculty navigate their own adventures into distant education.
Individual Student Consultations
Faculty Law librarians also provide student consultations to help guide students with both first year writing experiences and with upper level writing. Legal writing is an important skill for all law students to master and the Faculty Law librarians help guide students and answer questions with individual consultations. No matter the type of legal writing help the Faculty Law librarians are providing, they use “directed research” to help students with their independent research study. This guaranties that students are receiving the best writing help possible.
Supporting Scholarly Writing
The Faculty Law librarians also support legal writing expertise through extra programming and workshops to help guide students through the research/writing process. These workshops occur on Saturday mornings and allow the Faculty Law librarians to focus exclusively on student writing. The Faculty Law librarians will discuss a particular aspect of legal writing and then help students as they work on their own individual writing projects. This intensive help is a great way to support the students as they work to master legal writing.
Excellence in Legal Research Program (ELR)
The Faculty Law librarians also teach a variety of other classes that are not-for-credit including classes for our Excellence in Legal Research Program or ELR. ELR is our nationally-recognized extracurricular program in legal research that provides students with hands-on training in the skills, sources, and strategies they will need for performing effective legal research throughout their careers. This program provides an innovative way to help students master legal research and help them prepare for real-world research experiences. After all, associates on average, spend 35% of their time doing legal research!
A student who graduates from the program must complete a minimum of 20 hours of legal research instruction and assessment. The following lists the ELR classes taught during FY2018-19.
♦ Developing a Research Strategy
♦ Secondary Sources
♦ Federal Legislative History
♦ Federal Statutory Research
♦ Using Citators
♦ Law Practice Technology
♦ Current Awareness
♦ Evaluating Resources
♦ Texas Statutory Materials
♦ Texas Legislative Materials
♦ Federal Administrative Materials
♦ Texas Administrative Materials
♦ Case Finding Tools
♦ Fundamentals of Boolean Searching
♦ Free Web Resources
♦ Federal Statutory Materials
♦ Developing a Research Strategy
♦ Practice and Litigation Materials
♦ Introduction to Fastcase & Casemaker
Students graduate at the end of the semester in which they complete the program requirements. There is a celebratory reception held for the graduates at the end of the spring semester. This reception is for all the graduates of that fiscal year.
During FY2018-19 there were 38 graduates of the program!
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR ELR GRADUATES!!!!
Faculty Law librarians also teach various types of non-credit classes to help students and faculty. These classes are taught to law students, undergraduates, and legal professionals. Examples of these types of classes include:
♦ Student Organizations presentations (law students)
♦ Legal Practice class presentations (law students)
♦ Faculty trainings (faculty)
♦ Doctrinal class presentations (law students)
♦ 1L Orientation (law students)
♦ Student Services Fair
♦ Paralegal Tour and instruction of legal material (undergraduates)
Our faculty law librarians offer a significant amount of non-credit instruction for law students, faculty, undergraduate students, and legal professionals.
Collections & Institutional Repository
The Law Library provides many different types of resources for our patrons. The most common resources is library materials. The law library provides over 663,000 titles for our patrons. These items include print materials, electronic titles, microfiche, and other items. The Law Library is open 168 hours per week and we provide reference service 52 hours per week.
One important resource we provide for our patrons, especially for our faculty and students, is our materials. The Law Library provides a wide-variety of materials to help supplement the research and study done by faculty and students. There are books, journals, continuations, electronic databases among others. The chart below shows the material budget for FY2018-19.
One of our biggest collections are our electronic databases, it comprises 57% of the materials budget. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get a good picture of database usage and compare usage based on statistics. Each database provider provides different types of statistics and sometimes the same usage name, like “page views,” can mean different things within different databases. Below is an illustration of database usage for FY2018-19. The table lists some of our databases and some indicators of how much each database is used. The chart is in a table format but the data is not directly related. The table is to help visualize the data.
Providing various resources to help our faculty and students with their research needs is a primary focus for our law library. We strive to provide the material that is necessary for our students and faculty.
Our Law Library Circulation Desk is not just for checking out material but it is also a resources center for anyone who needs help. Our Circulation staff are trained to help answer and direct patrons to the resources they need. The Circulation Desk also provides many helpful services like; date stamping, faxing, mail drop-off, umbrellas, aspirin and other quick medical supplies, sporting equipment, directions, and a friendly smile! The two charts below illustrate some of the activity we see at the Circulation Desk.
During FY2018-19, staff provided nearly 5,300 services to our patrons! The largest number of people we help by far is our students! This allows us to get to know our students and faculty provide personalized service, and have truly meaningful contact with them. This is one of our biggest strengths as a law library!
Since we are the Circulation Desk, we also check out library material. During FY2018-19 the Law Library checked out 10,473 items to our patrons.
The largest circulating item type was study aids. We checked out 6,874 study aids to our students. Our next largest circulating item type was books; we checked out 1,265 books during the fiscal year.
We also have a significant number of people who visit the Law Library. During FY2018-19 there were 165,942 people visiting the Law Library.
The gate count always reflects seasonal usage of the Law Library. It starts getting busy in August and usually peaks in October and April then dips during December and the summer months of June and July.
The Texas Tech Law Library will continue to work towards supporting our students and faculty in their goal of training and preparing our future lawyers.