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. The law library is a 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
It is the expertise of our employees, the resources we have, and the services we offer our students and faculty that makes a difference. These items are the backbone of our library and help define who we are. Here are some of the services and resources we offer our students and faculty during FY2017-18.
Librarian and staff expertise is demonstrated in many different ways. The faculty librarians teach for-credit classes in a wide variety of topics; which showcases 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 faculty 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
♦ Trial Advocacy
Each of these classes were taught for-credit during either the fall 2017 or spring 2018 semester.
Our staff also bring a world of knowledge and support to the law library. Our circulation desk is the place to go for any of your questions or needs. Circulation staff are well trained and able to help patrons with any questions they have. Staff are able to guide patrons so they can receive the assistance they need.
Most of our circulation staff have 15+ years of experience and have a thorough understanding of the Law School, which enables them to provide excellent service. Our staff is also friendly and enjoys our students and faculty. Our staff participate in student and faculty events as well as providing a welcoming atmosphere for all.
Sometimes you need a break from the stress of law school. It doesn’t 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 FY2017-18.
♦ International Games Week
♦ Banned Books Week
♦ National Library Week and Trivia Night
♦ Poetry Slam (co-sponsored with BLSA)
♦ Various displays; Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage, Women’s History Month (March Madness game), LGBT History Month (display)
♦ Coloring pages (come-and-go activity)
♦ Games (come-and-go activity)
♦ Leprechaun Hunt (game)
♦ Scavenger Hunt
♦ Participated in #LibraryLife Challenge Day (Twitter activity)
The law library is also 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 will also be promoted on Twitter and Facebook.
The law library has started pushing our social media presence during the last few fiscal years, especially our Twitter account. Check out our Twitter page and see for yourself!
One of the things we do is promote all the activities occurring at the Texas Tech Law School. Our Twitter account 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 Twitter account a one-stop place detailing what’s happening at the Law School and helps the promotional activities of our Communications Departments and the Office of Academic Success Programs (OASP). In 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 is used to display 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 FY2017-18 there were 33,911 total views of our LibGuides! Views of the top ten LibGuides represent 64% of the total views or 21,691 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 FY2017-18 there were many happy occasions and reasons to celebrate, but we also lost a well-loved staff member, Rick Gomez. Rick was our mail specialist and will be greatly missed.
We also said good-bye to staff member, Susan Kitten, who moved to a different TTU department. Susan is now located at Facilities Planning and Construction where she continues to work with numbers and budgets! While she will be missed by library staff, we want to congratulate her on her new position and wish her the best!
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 he always has a joke to make us smile. A well-deserved award for a hard-working employee!
FY 2017-18 also brought more good news with two new employees, Briana Moody and Amanda Kitten. Briana is our new Law Library Associate and Amanda is our new Law Library Administrative Assistant. You will see both of them at the law library circulation desk.
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 staff available for reference assistance, which allows us to provide reference service 52 hours per week. Librarians are not sitting at a reference 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 by e-mail and phone. The chart below shows the break-down.
Slightly over half of the 345 reference questions librarians received are from students. Our next largest group is Law Review/Journal staff. If you combine these two groups, then almost 75% of the questions librarians answer are from students! The remaining questions come from the public, faculty/staff, and others.
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 FY2017-18 the faculty law librarians taught a total of 167 sessions for 2,747 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. They 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. They are focused 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 which is offered by our faculty law librarians. They 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 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 are generally held on Saturday mornings and focuses exclusively on student writing. The workshops discuss a particular aspect of legal writing and then help students as they work on their own individual writing projects. This intensive session 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 that were taught during FY2017-18.
♦ Developing a Research Strategy
♦ Secondary Sources
♦ Federal Legislative History
♦ Federal Statutory Research
♦ Using Citators
♦ Law Practice Technology & Legal Ethics
♦ Current Awareness
♦ Evaluating Resources
♦ Texas Statutory Materials
♦ Federal Legislative Materials
♦ Federal Administrative Materials
♦ Texas Administrative Materials
♦ Case Finding Tools
♦ Fundamentals of Boolean Searching
♦ Free Web Resources
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 FY2017-18 there were over 17 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:
♦ Pre-Law Academy presentations (undergraduate)
♦ Undergraduate Library Essentials class presentation (undergraduate)
♦ Lubbock County Women Lawyers Association (legal professionals)
♦ Law & Technology CLE presentation (legal professionals)
♦ Student Organizations presentations (law students)
♦ Legal Practice class presentations (law students)
♦ Faculty trainings (faculty)
♦ Doctrinal class presentations (law students)
♦ 1L Orientation (law students)
♦ Externship Bootcamp (law students)
♦ Student Services Fair
♦ PB & J and a Demo
♦ Paralegal Tour and instruction of legal material (undergraduates)
Our faculty law librarians offer a significant amount of instruction for law students, faculty, undergraduate students, and legal professionals. All of the instruction provided helps the law school meet ABA Standards and achieve the TTU Law School goals.
Collections & Institutional Repository
The law library provides many different types of resources for our patrons. The most common resource 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 has a wide-variety of materials to help supplement the research and study done by faculty and students. There are books, journals, continuations, and electronic databases among others. The chart below shows the material budget for FY2017-18.
One of our biggest collections are our electronic databases, it comprises 72% 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 in different databases. Below is an illustration of database usage for FY2017-18. The table lists some of our databases and some indicators of how 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.
Westlaw is easily our most used database with over 503,532 transactions! Not surprisingly Lexis Advance had over 118,000 document views. While our databases comprise the majority of our budget they also are extremely well used.
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 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 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 FY2017-18, staff provided nearly 7,600 services to our patrons! The largest group 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. This is one of our biggest strengths as a law library!
Since we are the circulation desk, we also check out library material. During FY2017-18 the law library checked out 11,279 items to our patrons.
The largest circulating item type was study aids. We checked out 6,127 study aids to our students. Our next largest circulating item type was books; we checked out 2,434 books during the fiscal year.
We also have a significant number of people who visit the law library. During FY2017-18 there were 180,755 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 always continue to work towards supporting our students and faculty in their goal of training and preparing our future lawyers. This is our passion and we continually strive to prove excellent service!