In response to Greg’s post, A Chicken…, I thought I would expand on what caused me to goad him into thinking more creatively about the library and its structure. The other day I was reading an article about defining value in law firm billing, which referenced several disruptive entrants to the legal market. I was only familiar with one of the names, so I jotted them down for further review. Here is the list:

Except for Axiom, these are UK businesses or firms that have become extremely creative about how they provide legal services to their clients. (Side note: I know that Legal Services Act of 2007 affects the creation of these entities, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t eventually be more prevalent here in the US). I was especially impressed with LOD. This is a separate business entity of the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner that was created with a completely different business model. The firm listened to the concerns of their clients and decided to create a solution, which has won them numerous awards as innovators. I would encourage you to look at their site. Bottom line, all of these businesses are being extremely creative about the way they think and provide solutions to their clients. They are way ahead of the curve that is certainly coming.

Cue Greg and his post about Embedded Librarians. It really got me thinking about what the firms mentioned above are doing and how they have taken their models apart and rebuilt them. They didn’t try to force their clients to continue using the traditional law firm models, instead they developed entirely new solutions. Why couldn’t we do the same thing?  If you started from scratch and built an information services department at a firm, what would it look like? Would it have the same basic structure we have today (i.e. reference, technical services and management) or would it look totally different?
As an example, I mentioned in my comments to Greg, why should the research professionals even be a part of the library organization? Why shouldn’t they be a members of the practice groups they serve, just like a specialized paralegal? Basically, if you can’t beat them, join them.

I would echo what John Digilio asked in his comment to the Chicken post…”why sit back and accept what tomorrow simply hands you?”