I ran across a fun blog run by a Brooklyn, New York public librarian called Screwy Decimal, where Rita Meade has a number of tongue-in-cheek posts about her life in the library and her constant struggle to fight Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to cut public library funding. It’s a fun, award winning, blog with a solid message… sprinkled with posts of kids saying the darnedest things, and tricking her into saying “underwear.” There was one post that I read that really caught my attention, and made me wonder if I, as a law librarian at a law firm, would be brave enough to ask the same question.

In her post Where Would You Be Without Your Library?, Meade discusses their Summer Reading Kickoff event where they created a sheet that they handed out to all the kids to fill out that asked the question “Where would you be without Brooklyn Public Library” and started off the answer with “Without my Library I ….”  The answers were wonderful, and some would make my wife start crying (she says I’m hollow inside, so such honest responses would be wasted on an emotional black hole such as myself… okay, I might have sniffled at a couple of them.)

Between sniffles, however, I started wondering if someone like me would be brave enough to ask the users of my library the same question?? It is a scary thought to think that some lawyer might answer in a negative way. “Without my law library I could convert that space into a corner office with the best view in the firm!” However, I think asking just this question may help expose some of the honest answers that the public library received. We may even be surprised by the answers that we get, in that they expose a value that the attorney gets from us that we may never have guessed on our own.

Exposing yourself and your library like this is scary to think about. Would you be willing to put a form like this out to your firm??
[note: Beth Holmes made a great suggestion that this should be modified to say “Without my Law Library/Librarian I …]

  • I started my first law firm marketing director job in Dallas in the late 1980s. The TV show, "Dallas" was ubiquitous(Deja vu – right? It's on again.), and the world was running high, fast and loud (as we said in music school). I could never have been prepared, however, for how the 1 and 2Ls used the books in the beautiful, award-winning library of my law firm . . . to do lines of coke. Yes, cocaine – white powder running down the middle of the pages. It was the strangest summer of my career. I wonder where those lawyers are today.

  • Where would I be without my library? I never asked myself that question before. Maybe I won't develop a passion for writing, and I won't know the world's greatest geniuses, and learn how we became what we are now. I don't know, maybe life will be empty. Now I'm being sentimental. I like this post.

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