The Law School Library Staff uses the defibrillator on you at the crash scene, jolting you to clarity with the piece of information you need to get out of your state of complete confusion and failure. The Law School Library Staff (or LSLS or LS2) provides the frosting on your otherwise bland cake. When you realize that your persuasive memo is so boring that your professor will mark you off for negligent tedium, the LS2 will direct you to a snappy story to wake up your paper.
The typical librarian evokes grey streaked hair in a bun, wire-rimmed reading glasses, heavy clothing that was never in style, and thick-soled, sensible shoes. The Law Librarian (yes, it should be capitalized) appears in white robes with a golden halo floating six inches above her head.
The LS2 is highly educated. Most law schools require that the LS2 has a master’s degree in library science, and many also have a J.D. The Director, a faculty member, must have a J.D. It is likely that the person across the circulation desk was standing where you are now, and knows tons more about law than you do.
If you go to the American Association of Law Libraries at www.aallnet.org, you will realize that this profession is not fooling around. The organization is over 100 years old and has over 5000 members. These are not folks who work in a library because they like reading in a quiet place.
If you expect to engage in any of the following actions in law school, you will greatly benefit from getting to know your LS2:
- Write an appellate brief, persuasive memo, journal article, or other legal paper
- Use supplemental materials such as hornbooks, audio CDs, flashcards, practice essays, multiple choice collections, or professors’ past exams
- Research anything
- Cite anything
- Study in a study room
- Learn the law
Your LS2 will come to the rescue when you forget the required class text at home and need to quickly borrow one, when you require ear plugs because the guy near you is loudly chomping gum, and when the copy machine destroys your pleading eight minutes before it needs to be time stamped.
So, how do you ingratiate yourself?
Be respectful. Too many law students approach the LS2 with disdain, as if working in a law library is a lesser form of employment. Remember, no legal professional, from a small town solo practitioner to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has any argument worth presenting without information from the information specialists. Your LS2 holds the key to your argument in its domain.
Be nice. Everyone likes to be appreciated. The LS2 is often approached by panicked law students struggling to understand a topic or stressed about a looming deadline. This panicked state manifests as irritability and whining. If you display gratitude and kindness instead of alarm, the LS2 will be more likely to go the extra mile for you.
Be helpful. The LS2 is busy. It has a facility to maintain, material to evaluate, students to assist, and trainings to attend, organize, and conduct. Library policy is designed for the efficient operation of the facility, and by following the policy, everyone benefits. Help the LS2 by adhering to the rules and encouraging your peers to do so as well.