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Libraries Sub-Committee

The function of the Society’s Libraries Sub-Committee is to initiate and inform debate among members of the Society (and by others) about current issues affecting academic law libraries.  The Sub-Committee, on behalf of the Society, creates and updates the Statement of Standards for University Law Library Provision, a comprehensive and flexible set of standards providing authoritative guidance for law schools and librarians.  The Sub-Committee also oversees an Annual Academic Law Library Survey in collaboration with the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians. You will find more information about the committee’s work on this page. Members are elected to the committee each year, in accordance with the Society’s constitution. Anyone who would be interested in becoming a member of the Sub-Committee should please contact Jules Winterton, Chair of the SLS Libraries Sub-Committee, via email jules.winterton@sas.ac.uk or the Hon. Secretary of the Society.

Statement of Standards for University Library Provision

The Statement of Standards for University Law Library Provision is a comprehensive and flexible set of standards providing authoritative guidance, for law schools and law librarians. It represents a broad and authoritative consensus of views. The Standards were originally drawn up by a consultative group established by the Libraries Sub-Committee of the Society of Legal Scholars in 1995 and approved by the Society after consultation with academic, professional and governmental bodies. Since then the Standards have been updated periodically.  Law is unique among disciplines in having such a set of standards and the Society, as representative of independent academic opinion, is unique in making this continuing commitment to the investigation, analysis, and expression of what is needed for effective library provision for its discipline.

The following link takes you to the Statement of Standards as approved by the SLS Council in 2009 and includes an explanatory introduction: https://www.legalscholars.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/SLS-Library-for-a-Modern-Law-School-Statement-2009.pdf

Some background to the work of the Committee and part of the Statement appears in Clinch, P. (2010). A Library for the Modern Law School – 2009 Revision. Legal Information Management, 10(2), 132-141.

A detailed commentary to each of the standards provides a guide to their interpretation and local application and is updated with information on current practice derived from an annual survey of academic law libraries.

Annual Academic Law Library Survey

The Annual Academic Law Library Survey is jointly sponsored by the Society and by the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.  It outlines the activities and funding of academic law libraries in the UK and Ireland.  It is the only survey of its kind and has been run on an annual basis since 1996. It provides data which law schools and their librarians use to benchmark their own services and is the basis for updating the commentary to the SLS Standards for University Library Provision.  It is based on responses to a survey questionnaire administered by the Academic Services staff at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library.

The results of the Survey are reported in Legal Information Management (formerly The Law Librarian). The 2017/18 Report is based on responses from 93 academic law libraries UK and Ireland (83.04% response rate) and provides a comprehensive view of the state of academic law libraries in the UK and Ireland.

Reports of previous Surveys have been published in Legal Information Management. Since the revised Statement of Standards appeared in 2009, the following reports have been published:

Clinch, P. (2011). SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2009/2010. Legal Information Management, 11(4), 272-288.

Gee, D. (2012). SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2010/2011. Legal Information Management, 12(3), 218-232.

Gee, D. (2013). SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2011/2012. Legal Information Management, 13(4), 260-277.

Gee, D. (2014). SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2012/2013. Legal Information Management, 14(3), 215-233.

Gee, D. (2015). SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2013/2014. Legal Information Management, 15(4), 264-282.

Gee, D. (2016). SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2014/2015. Legal Information Management, 16(4), 239-257.

Gee, D. (2017). SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2015/2016. Legal Information Management, 17(4), 245-264.

British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII)

The Sub-Committee monitors the development of the free-to-Internet service for primary legal materials in the UK and Ireland at http://www.bailii.org/.  The Chair of the Sub-Committee is a member of the BAILII Trustees.  BAILII welcomes feedback on its service at http://www.bailii.org/bailii/feedback.html or members can contact Jules Winterton, Chair of the Sub-Committee at jules.winterton@sas.ac.uk.

Open Book Service for Law Initiative – IALS Advisory Board

The Sub-Committee has a representative on the Advisory Board for the Open Book Service for Law being developed at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS).  This initiative is designed to answer the emerging need for open access book publishing opportunities and also to anticipate the evolving requirements for future REF exercises.  Submissions will be accepted from individual academic authors and editors and a publishing service will also be provided to learned societies and organisations. The Advisory Board supports a small Editorial Board and has representatives drawn from the UK legal research communities and scholarly professional associations for law.  More information about the IALS Open Book Service for Law is at
http://ials.sas.ac.uk/digital/humanities-digital-library/observing-law-ials-open-book-service-law

Useful resources include: