National audit of Australian law libraries and legal information services

Recipients: Mrs Fiona Brown, Associate Professor Graeme Johanson, Dr Kirsty Williamson and Dr Tom Denison.

Project summary

The grant recipients, with the assistance of the Australian Law Librarians' Association (ALLA), will undertake a national audit of Australia's legal information services which exist both physically as law libraries and 'virtually' in the form of digital information collections and online legal reference services. Despite their importance to the rule of law and society as a whole there is very little published information about law libraries in Australia to inform law library policy decisions, advocacy or research into legal information service provision. Monash researchers undertook the one and only comprehensive audit of Australia's law libraries, thirty years ago in 1984.

The aim of the project is to identify and survey all law libraries and publish an encyclopaedic audit report of baseline data on the collections, budgets, staff and services provided by each individual library service together with relevant historical and contextual information. The law libraries will be identified by desktop research with the assistance of data provided by the Australian Law Librarians' Association (ALLA) and surveyed by questionnaire. It is anticipated that the audit report will be completed by May 2015 and published by the ALLA. The data collected will inform and encourage research  and scholarly publication in law librarianship and inform the policy and funding decisions made about law libraries by government and the legal profession. Comprehensive data about each law library and law library sector will also inform the strategic planning of the ALLA enabling it to grow and increase  the professional participation of its membership and increase the effectiveness of its advocacy work.

Conclusion

The survey was completed and a report provided to the Australian Law Librarians' Association in June 2015.

The report was published in the Australian Law Librarian Vol 23 No 2 2015.

Fiona Brown presented a paper on the findings of the survey at the New Zealand Law Librarians' Association Conference 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand on September 11 2015.

Fiona Brown provided a report to the New Zealand Law Librarians' Association in September 2015 on the survey methodology upon request to assist them in planning a survey of New Zealand law libraries.

Fiona Brown will present a paper on the findings of the survey at the Australian Law Librarians' Conference in Melbourne in August 2016.

Fiona Brown has subsequently enrolled as a PhD candidate with FIT under the supervision of Tom Denison, Graeme Johanson and Kirsty Williamson.