Alumni Support Library's Efforts ave Fo Alumni are joining in the effort to rebuild the Law Library, bringing a new mix of resources to move the library forward. For example, Roy Mersky (Class of '53!, volunteered his considerable talents as a legal educator and library consultant, to advise the Law School and University about library space needs. Roy, who is the Hyder Professor of Law and Director of Research for the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas, in Austin, and the co-author of a leading textbook on legal research, is one of the nation's preeminent librarians and frequently retained for his highly regarded advise about library matters. Roy's unique contributions to the Law School match the innovative plans developed for transforming the library into a facility rivaling its peers and fully capable of supporting legal research into the next century. Following years of enduring pinched budgets and increasingly cramped quarters, the Law Library began on its road to recovery last year, when, quite remarkably, law students voted to raise their own tuition levels to help improve the library. This tuition-generated boost was nearly matched with increased funding by the state and this year brought the Law Library's total operating budget back into the lower range of its peers for the first time in over a decade! But like the seamless web of the law reflected in the library's holdings, this increase in the library's budget has repercussions stretching beyond the capacity of its physical facilities and has hastened the need for an ambitious building project. The Law Library's plans call for blending newer and existing technologies to support the integrated research needs of the Law School community over the next several decades. The facility needed to advance this plan could take advantage of a campus-wide rewiring project, which is providing over 250 data outlets in the Law Library alone. Study carrels equipped with data outlets would allow library users to integrate their use of traditional paperbound materials with convenient access to external databases, like LEXISand WESTLAW,and to compose documents using word processing and other software made available through a Law Library network. Library computer labs would be used for training students
Professor Roy Mersky to effectively utilize these newer technologies. But even with this heavy reliance on newer technologies, the Law Library's book collections will continue to grow, taking on an expanded regional and national significance: where duplication is reduced or eliminated in some areas new depths of research capabilities would be made available in other subject areas. Roy Mersky volunteered to help last summer, just as the Law School was beginning to revise its building addition proposal to accommodate these increasingly ambitious plans of the Law Library. Roy offered to review the Law School's current plans and related documents, visit the Law School and propose solutions to the library's space needs. Of course, we were delighted to accept this generous offer. Roy was welcomed to the Law School in late August, with a small reception held in his honor and attended by librarians, faculty, alumni, and friends from around Madison. He then set to work for several days with Library Director Blair
Kauffman, reviewing the library's facilities and plans and meeting with key Law School and University officials, to get a firm handle on potential solutions to the Law Library's space needs. At the conclusion of his visit, Roy briefed the Dean on his findings and outlined a full written report with Blair Kauffman, which is now being finalized. In the meantime, this visit served to raise consciousness about the severe space needs of the library, which in turn are integrally tied to the space needs of the rest of the Law School, and renew the drive to find a viable solution within the near future. Following Roy Mersky's summer visit, the faculty adopted a revised space plan, which more than triples the amount of additional space previously allocated to the Law Library. This enhanced space plan is now moving forward in the campus planning process and holds the potential for transforming the entire Law School building into a facility more suitable to the Law School's proud history and envious location on Bascom Hill.
Published on Sep 21, 2011