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Placemaking and Assessing Physical Space in the Academic Law Library

  • Lee F Peoples

The concept of placemaking has been widely utilized by public and university libraries to create spaces with library users in mind. This article by Lee F. Peoples describes how academic law libraries can employ placemaking concepts to support their parent law school's program of legal education, encourage collaborative learning, and connect students with their school's community, values and traditions. This article explains how academic law libraries can assess placemaking activities and other uses of library space and demonstrate a return on investment made into library spaces. The article concludes with some predictions for the future of assessing library space use.

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1 William H Whyte <> accessed 7 December 2016.

2 What Makes a Successful Place <> accessed 7 December 2016.

3 Jeffrey Scherer, Principal, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Architects, Placemaking: Creating Libraries that Matter Now and in the Future (Amercian Library Association National Convention June 28, 2008) <> accessed 7 December 2016.

4 ibid.

5 ibid.

6 ibid.

7 Young, Steven, ‘Looking Beyond the Stacks: The Law Library as Place’ (2010) AALL Spectrum 16 , 18.

8 Peoples, Lee, ‘Designing a Law Library to Encourage Learning’ (2014) 63 Journal of Legal Education 612 .

9 (2013) 32 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 78–109.

10 ibid 99.

11 Law school libraries subject to the American Bar Association's Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools are required by Standard 606(a) to have a collection that supports their school's ‘curricular, scholarly, and service programs’.

12 Leighton, Philip D and Weber, David C, Planning Academic and Research Library Buildings (3rd ed, American Library Association, 2000) 61 .

13 ibid.

14 Scherer (n 3).

15 This blurring of boundaries is one of the seven guiding principles of placemaking in libraries as articulated by Jeffrey Scherer.

16 Bennett, Scott, ‘Righting the Balance’, in Library as Place: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space (Council on Library and Information Research, 2005) 19 .

17 ibid.

18 ibid.

19 Peoples (n 8).

20 Scherer (n 3)3.

21 Humphries, LaJean, ‘Cheaper Online? Our Firm Library's Gradual Move to All Electronic’ (2013) AALL Spectrum 18 .

22 Email from Caroline Osborne, Director of the Law Library and Professor of Legal Research Washington & Lee University School of Law (1 July 2013 - copy on file with author). Email from Michelle Wu, Director, Law Library, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law (20 June 2013 - copy on file with author).

23 ABA Standard (n 11).

24 ‘Collaborative, Creative Placemaking: Good Public Art Depends on Good Public Spaces’ <> accessed 7 December 2016.

25 Interview with Barbara Bintliff, Joseph C Hutcheson Professor of Law and (26 September 2013) Director, Tarlton Law Library/Jamail Center for Legal Research, University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

26 Scherer (n 3).

27 For an example see Weiss’, Leah Sandwell ‘The Evolution of Law Library Support to Law School Administrative and Staff Offices’ in Bintliff, Barbara and Peoples, Lee F (eds) Public Services in Law Libraries: Evolution and Innovation in the 21st Century (Taylor & Francis 2007) 233 .

28 Email on file with author. Sender of email asked that her school not be identified.

29 ibid.

30 ibid.

31 Email from Carol A Watson, Director of the Alexander Campbell King Law Library, University of Georgia School of Law (18 June 2013 - email on file with author).

32 Career Resources from the Library <> accessed 7 December 2016.

33 Law School Grads Face Worst Job Market Yet – Less Than Half Find Jobs in Private Practice, <> accessed 7 Dec. 2016.

34 OU College of Law Dedicates Inasmuch Foundation Collaborative Learning CenterTulsa World (27 September 2016).

35 ibid.

36 Heather Michele Moorefield-Lang, ‘Makers in the Library: Case Studies of 3D Printers and Maker Spaces in Library Settings’, (2014) 32(4) Library Hi Tech 583. The North Carolina State University libraries have lead the way in not only implementing placemaking into their libraries but also adding maker spaces and 3D printers. <> accessed 7 December 2016.

37 ABA Standard 301(b).

38 ibid 301(a).

39 ibid 601(a)(1).

40 ibid 601(a)(3).

41 Peoples (n 8).

42 Matasar, Richard A, ‘The Viability of the Law Degree: Cost, Value, and Intrinsic Worth’ (2011) 96 Iowa Law Review 1578 .

43 Debra Cassens Weiss, ‘Profs Predict Law School Closings as More Grads Earn Less than Break-Even Pay’ ABA J. (19 October 2010)

44 ‘Indiana Tech Law School to Close, Citing $20 Million In Losses’ <> accessed 7 December 2016.

45 ‘How UNT-Dallas’ Grand Law School Experiment Could be Overruled’ <> accessed 7 December 2016. The school is seeking reconsideration of the denial of accreditation.

46 American Association of Law Libraries, ‘Defining ROI: Law Library Best Prctices’ <> accessed 7 Dec. 2016.

47 ibid 12–13.

48 ibid.

49 ibid.

50 ibid.

51 Interview with Billie Jo Kaufman, Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources Professor of Law, American University College of Law (December 2015).

52 <> accessed 7 December 2016.

54 <> accessed 7 December 2016.

55 <> accessed 7 December 2016.

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Legal Information Management
  • ISSN: 1472-6696
  • EISSN: 1741-2021
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