Tag Archives: AALL

AALL Business Skills Clinic

BusinessSkills

AALL has put together a great professional development opportunity for law librarians with the 2015 Business Skills Clinic. Just for full disclosure’s sake—I serve on the taskforce to put the event together. The clinic is designed to give you an opportunity to “learn core business skills” . From my experience it seems law librarians are tasked with learning core business skills while on the job—i.e., learning-by-doing. There certainly are pros to this—the skills are engaged with and partially learned in a practical setting, but, in my opinion, immediate goal-oriented learning leaves blind spots, a lack of nuance, and definitely not expertise. The huge benefit of this clinic is the depth in which core business skills will be examined, and by a faculty of experts. Moreover, attendees will learn these skills outside of the work environment and in a context that isn’t focused on accomplishing a specific, immediate task, but rather on the tools to accomplish future, myriad tasks. Come and learn the skills the greatly affect your career.

Here are the business skills that will be covered:

  • Managerial Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Performance Measures
  • Negotiations
  • Strategic Planning

The deadline for registration for the clinic is Tuesday, September 22nd. The cost is $795. And, as per the banner above, the dates for the institute are Friday, October 16th, and Saturday, October 17th. The location is the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile.

For more information, and detailed bios on the institute’s faculty, please check out this wonderfully put-together .pdf.

Law Firm Library Marketing: Taking Advantage of Existing Opportunities | Part 2

SpeechBubbles

Welcome to Part 2 of this series, where we will cover specific marketing opportunities that currently exist for the law firm library. Most of these examples are opportunities hiding in plain sight and already part of a law librarian’s current day-to-day responsibilities. The key is to shift our perspective to recognize and take advantage of the marketing value of these responsibilities.

Part 1, available here, examined the value and need for marketing the law library.

  • New hire trainings/orientation – What if you had the opportunity to individually meet with your potentially highest usage patrons for 30-60 minutes before they learned and developed bad research habits? Law firm librarians who have the opportunity to conduct new hire orientations have a huge self-marketing advantage. The initial library orientation is fundamentally important to developing a new hire’s future relationship with the library. If you are lucky enough to work in a firm where a library orientation is standard for a new hire, congratulations! If not, it would be wise to consult with HR to see if you can establish orientations as a common procedure. During the orientation itself, rather than go through the nuances and heavy details of every research product you have, it is centrally important to use this opportunity to market the services of the library. The most important piece of information that can be conveyed to your new hire in this situation is how they can contact a librarian for help in the future. Giving an overview of the research products your firm has is great, as is establishing the expertise your department has with regards to these research products, but the real benefit of these sessions is to begin a relationship with another potential patron.
  • Internal presentations – More often than not, every individual department inside a law firm has regularly scheduled meetings. Practice groups, of course, have periodic meetings, but so do non-attorney groups such as paralegals and marketing. This structure is very advantageous to law firm librarians; our patron base does the legwork of organizing itself and segmenting itself into groups with specific research needs. More advantageous is that meeting organizers are typically in search of and receptive to programming;

    in my experience, offers to give short presentations on the library’s services are generally approved and encouraged. When the presentation is green-lit, the librarian is benefitted by having a captive, specialized audience for whom it’s easy to custom tailor the presentation. As for the presentations themselves I have found you can never assume your audience knows what the typical, modern law firm library does. And again, it pays to emphasize, more than anything else, how audience members can contact the library. The goal for this type of exercise is visibility, to make departments aware of the library, and to possibly expand your client base.

  • The Firm’s Intranet Page – Law firm libraries have a huge advantage in having an internal, organized patron-base; we do not serve a far-spread, scattered public or student body. A firm’s intranet home page isolates this patron-base perfectly. The intranet home page is viewed by presumably everyone in the firm, and because of its reach, it makes for an excellent distribution channel for marketing intranetmessages. More beneficially, these pages are usually in need of quick content. A message stating how many reference requests the library group has answered is an excellent way to quickly and effectively reach out; the message is quick, easily digested, hits all potential patrons, and establishes the relevancy of the department. The goal, again, is to promote awareness of the library—the A in AIDA as we covered in part 1—and posting a brief message on the firm’s intranet page is a great way of achieving this goal.
  • Event marketingEvent marketing entails promoting the law library via a themed event. At a basic level, the event is organized around entertaining activities that promote face-to-face contact with your patrons; games and demonstrations, for example, encourage patron participation, all the while promoting the law library. Notably, vendors are typically very receptive towards contributing to marketing events. You really have nothing to lose when you ask a vendor for assistance. In the past, vendors have donated prizes, led demonstrations, and sent representatives to help organize events we have hosted. Vendor receptiveness is logical: event marketing events are mutually beneficial for the library and vendors. The library contributes the legwork of organizing potential users and customers for vendors, while the vendors keep potential users and customers interested via gamification scenarios and the chance to win prizes, all under the auspice of promoting the library. Celebrating National Library Week is a great opportunity to employ event marketing; the week-long structure gives ample time to multiple vendors, and encourages daily events/more opportunities to event market. In 2016, according to ALA, National Library Week will occur April 10th-16th.
  • Host internal workshops – Vendor presentations and workshops are pretty common in law firms. Remotely, vendors consistently offer webinars to showcase new software and updates. And in-person, vendors make weekly visits to our firm to provide hands-on training. Law firm libraries do a great job of hosting vendor workshops, and connecting vendors to attorneys. There is much value to these activities: they generate interest about research offerings, improve research literacy, and even promote the library. But, we shouldn’t leave this activity just to vendors. Consider offering librarian-hosted workshops. The benefits of librarian-hosted workshops are numerous including clear promotion of the library, promotion of the individual librarian’s research expertise, and a more honest examination of resource strengths and weaknesses. The methodology of delivering the workshops can be similar to what vendors already provide: webinars or in-house presentations regarding specific areas of research (some example topics could be: public records, corporation searches, docket alerts and tracks, etc). Again, this is an activity that generates awareness about the library, as well as establishes the expertise of librarians over their research products.
  • Embedded librarians – At this point the concept of “library as a service, not a space” is likely second nature to law librarians; and embedded librarianship probably more accurately reflects your typical work environment and setting. Broadly, an embedded librarian is a library professional who still performs the duties of a librarian, but does not necessarily work inside a physical library. Rather, the embedded librarian is physically embedded among the patrons they support–in our case: the attorneys and support staff. To view the concepts of library-as-a-service and embedded librarianship specifically through the lens of marketing ourselves, we have to recognize the value the visibility our new situation affords us. Again, marketing must have the goal of generating awareness; being physically present in the environment of our patrons achieves this goal.

In review, the above examples show activities and responsibilities law librarians are typically already fulfilling. The key is to view these day-to-day responsibilities from the context of marketing, and really exploit the potential for marketing these activities possess. In short: go out and be seen!

Screencasting in the Library

The Cool Tools Café program at this year’s AALL Annual Meeting showcased–like it always does–many great presentations concerning implementing technologies to improve library offerings. For those unfamiliar with the format of the Cool Tools Café, the program features a variety of demonstrations set up in different stations inside a large conference room—attendees are given free rein to wander around and scope out the various presentations on technologies. Standing out among these was the presentation conducted by CUNY Library Associate Professor & Emerging Technologies Librarian Alex Berrio Matamoros; Alex’s presentation regarded law librarians using screencasting software as a teaching tool. Continue reading

Vendor Trends: Interactive Data Visualizations

The Exhibit Hall at AALL showcased a clear trend towards vendors offering visualization tools to improve the process of legal researching. From a macro level, legal research has transitioned from being a chiefly print-based medium to a primarily electronic-based medium, and, encouragingly, vendors have developed tools to really exploit this shift. Continue reading

iBraryGuy Hits the Conference Circuit!

Aircraft_crossing_paths

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, we are not referring to the end of the year holidays.  We are talking about library summer conference season, of course. That time of year when the business cards come out, the presentations go on, and the networking and educational opportunitiesget craaaaazy!  Hold onto your lanyards folks, because iBraryGuy is hitting the road with you. Continue reading

Thursday’s Musing: The Value of Perception, the Librarian and the Library Space

LibraryPicture

(photo (c) 2009 Dorli Photography, available here)

 

As collections are becoming more electronic, the value of the library space is becoming increasingly questioned. A trend among articles written by non-librarians is to link the edifice with the profession: the librarian works in a library, technology is making libraries obsolete, therefore librarians will also become obsolete (librarians are a dead end job according to this article from Yahoo Education, and librarians are a dying breed according to this article from Digital Book World). Even articles that attempt to exclaim the value of librarianship focus heavily on the library spaces, rather than the professionals in those spaces. For example, this recent CNN article kindly relates how libraries are thriving, but focuses almost completely on the edifices themselves: the architecture of the Seattle Public Library, 27 fascinating buildings, the library as a community space, and a photographer’s book of photos of public libraries are all given substantial ink (pixels?). Again, the perception is the edifice and profession are one and the same, so what actually occurs when the physical space is downsized/eliminated? Continue reading

How Impactful Could AALL’s ROI Study Be?

AALL announced details on its plans to produce a ROI study about law librarians and law libraries (press release available here). AALL announced late last week their selection of HBR Consulting to conduct the study. The results of this study will provide empirical data concerning the value of law librarians, which will be a boon to law firm administrators especially in regards to their budgetary assessments of library staffing. Continue reading

On Firmer Ground Turns 2!

Add another candle to the cake! On Firmer Ground, the little law librarian blog that could, has turned two years old. Wow, has it grown!

Started in June 2011 by members of the Legal Division of the Special Libraries Association and the Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, On Firmer Ground (OFG) quickly turned into a bit of a global juggernaut. Within weeks of its debut, the site had signed on editors from law library groups in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific. Currently, there are seven participating organizations churning out content designed to demonstrate that real value of law firm librarians. The full list is below.

When OFG launched at the end of June 2011, it did so with one post and 90 views. In the two years since, the blog has published almost 60 entries and racked up almost 81,000 visits! A mere two followers has turned into over 1000. That is no small feat for a team of seven very busy editors. OFG is run entirely by volunteers on a shoe-string budget. Their only compensation is te satisfaction of knowing that they are making a strong case for the future vitality and value of their profession.

So happy second birthday, On Firmer Ground! Keep those blog posts rolling!

OFG Participating organizations: the Legal Division of the Special Libraries Association, the Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (l’Association Canadienne des Bibliothèques de Droit), the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians, the Australian Law Librarians’ Association, the New Zealand Law Librarians’ Association, and the Organisation of South African Law Libraries.

Site: On Firmer Ground http://www.firmerground.com