Today in The Inside Story, I want to share the laudable work of the Boley Law Library staff.
Our Boley Law Library, the largest law library in Oregon, is a resource for students, faculty, alums and the Oregon legal community. The Coronavirus pandemic required some creative work by our librarians to ensure that Boley resources continued to be available.
By March 10, with Coronavirus alarm bells going off around the world and in our community, the Law Library administrative team prepared an emergency building closure plan that allowed for continuity of operations. At the time, it was unclear whether we would still have library access. Our librarians therefore considered multiple contingencies and were able to quickly respond as events unfolded.
On March 13, the library was still open, but a one-person limit was imposed on the study rooms and librarians created aCoronavirus Response Site containing information on library access, digital research sources, and expanded virtual services.
On March 16, we limitedLaw Library access to students and faculty only and the librarians became almost fully virtual. Remote reference services and Zoom consultations were announced. Internal workgroups used online tools such as Slack and Trello to coordinate work from afar. Jim Kite’s Legal Research: Advising Businesses course held its first class on Zoom. Wendy Hitchcock would do the same three days later for Legal Research: International and Foreign.
March 17 was the last day in the office for most members of the library staff (half of the staff had been working from home since the 13th). Meredith Kostek crafted an imaginative virtual legal research scavenger hunt for Lawyering, combining elements of each professor’s learning management system, live chat, and Google Slides.
On March 18 librarians expanded remote services, announcing free, temporary access to the online Bluebook,Wolters Kluwer Study Aids, and the much-used E&Es.Legal Technology and Ethics was taught virtually, bringing our Prepare to Practice workshops to Zoom. A number of students have earned their digital badges for completing the P2P series.
At 8:00 p.m. on March 20, the doors to the Boley Law Library and Wood Hall study areas were closed along with the rest of the law campus. Some of our student workers began operating remotely the next day, and by the 31st every student staff member was employed again, transitioning their on-campus jobs to virtual faculty research projects, research for the Alumni office, and to law library projects.
The next week, the library unveiledDigital Boley, featuring polls, games, and breaks from the daily grind of Zoom and COVID-19 news. The first iteration of Virtual “Bacon” was posted, inviting virtual offerings to the law school’s good luck charm. The Boley staff also expanded Web resources including links to more research support and e-resources, online versions of almost all casebooks, and triple the number of available online study aids.
This rapid pace of change, and increase in virtual engagement, has continued through April. On April 1, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was voted the winner of our Legal March Madness Tournament (started in person in the library, with voting completed online at Digital Boley). The LexisNexis Digital Library of casebooks, treatises, and study aids was added to the emergency collection. Tips and resources for taking exams at home were posted on theBoley Blog. The Boley staff organized Zoom research refreshers and Faculty Research Assistant trainings and announced two new databases, DocketBird and Criminal Justice in America. Perhaps most innovative are the virtual study rooms created to help students safely recreate the classic Wood Hall study room experience in time for exams.
Our unflappable Associate Dean, Rob Truman, and his team continue to ensure that library patrons are supported: “Can’t find what you need on theBoley site? Contact a librarian in chat, email, or phone and they’ll do their best to help you out. The doors may be closed, but the Law Library is very much still open.”
Who could ask for more? Stay safe and stay well!
Next Week: Career Services
My very best,
Dean, Lewis & Clark Law School
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