Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Survey Of Law School Faculty: Evaluation Of The Law Library

Primary Research Group, Survey of Law School Faculty: Evaluation of the Law Library (2020):

This 113-page study presents data from a survey of 107 law faculty and administration from more than 60 law schools in the United States and Canada about how they feel about their law school libraries.  The report updates our earlier report on the same subject, published in 2016.

Table 3

The study presents detailed data on overall satisfaction with the law library and with many distinct facets and features of the library and library staff.  Unique data sets are available on satisfaction with interlibrary loan, group study rooms, database range and availability, information technology, information literacy training, eBook collections, journal collections, and much more.  In addition, the report presents answers to open ended questions about what faculty would like to see more – or less of – in their libraries.

The report also gives distinct data on the percentage of faculty who approach law librarians by phone, email, text, social media, in-person and through other means.

The study also looks closely at information using habits of law faculty, pinpointing the frequency of use of West, LexisNexis, Google Scholar, HeinOnline and Bloomberg Law and furnishing highly useful benchmarks for law librarians to use with their own statistics and internal surveys.

The report gives highly specific micro-data on use of particular resources but also gives macro data on the percentage of faculty who feel that their libraries are fun productivity and the percentage that would support an increase in the library budget – and to support which projects or resources.

Data in the report is broken out by size of law school, law school ranking, for public and private law schools, and by work title and gender of the respondent.

Just a few of the report’s many findings are that:

  • Faculty in top ranked law schools were far less likely than those in lower ranked schools to think of themselves as highly proficient in legal information searching.
  • More than 91% of professors in the sample have asked a law librarian for assistance in the past year.
  • Only 6.54% of the sample had contacted a law librarian by text message in the past year.
  • Faculty was more likely than management and older faculty more likely than younger faculty to view the law library as productive and efficient.
  • Nearly 80% of survey respondents felt that the speed of response from librarians to faculty requests was excellent.
  • 5.61% of those surveyed use Bloomberg Law virtually every day.

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