Using Print Legal Materials? Share Your Story!

Hopefully by now you’ve seen—and used— AALL’s new Print Resource Usage Log. This new tool was developed by the Government Relations Office, in consultation with the Government Relations Committee, in response to the increasing threat of the elimination of print legal materials and reference publications. The log is a quick and easy way to record evidence of the continued need for legal materials in print and other tangible formats.

We’ve already received some great entries to the log. Here are some highlights:

  • Pamela Kaufman, Law Librarian at the Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Library at Stamford, recently logged the use of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and U.S. Code. She wrote, “An attorney was researching the eligibility requirements for the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers. Using the public law number, we found where the law was codified in the United States Code Service. After reviewing the annotations to the statute he wanted to look at any related regulations in the CFR.” Why was she using the print? “The attorney wanted to read the annotated version of the United States Code, something our library does not have electronically.”
  • A librarian at a private firm noted how much more accessible print resources can be when attorneys use multiple titles of the CFR every day.  She prefers the print “to be able to look at multiple provisions simultaneously without having to continually expand the table of contents at FDsys to find other provisions, or hav[ing] to bear the search expense of looking in Westlaw or Lexis.”
  • Deborah Darin, Reference Librarian & Legal Research Adjunct Professor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, uses print resources as a teaching tool in her role as an instructor.  She introduces her students to the print version in class, then has them find things in it while she assists. She believes her students get a much better idea of what is in these sources of primary law if they can first examine them in print: “Many of them have said the light bulb stayed on after [using the print], and when they got to their summer jobs, they were confident in their ability to search and use the material in any format, after having seen it in print”
  • Maria Willmer, Legal Research Specialist at DePaul College of Law Library, shared the story of how the print not only ruled, but it saved the day!  She wrote,” During a rush request from a Professor for his class, I needed to find a Proposed Rule and track it through to when it became a Final Rule and then find where it was codified in the CFR.  Using the print issues and volume were the best way to track this down.  I pulled a 2010 FR issue in paper – found a proposed rule – pulled the CFR volume where this potential rule would be codified and then back tracked to find the final rule.  I honestly believe having the print volumes in front of me, helped me quickly navigate and find all three documents in a short [amount] of time …print rules (pun intended)!”

Whether chosen for their accessibility, availability, reliability or simply personal preference, print materials are being used in all types of law libraries by many different users . Please help us build the case for print by logging each time you use, or help someone to use, a federal legal resource in print. Your stories will make a difference!

Note:  All statements were printed with the permission of the authors. Your answers to the log will only be recorded and viewed by the AALL Government Relations Office staff, though we will make public an overview of the responses.  

One Response to Using Print Legal Materials? Share Your Story!

  1. […] already described some of the excellent entries to the log on AALL’s Washington Blawg. For example, a law librarian at a private firm noted how much more practical print resources can […]

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