A Better Strategy for Law Firm Librarians?

VMaryAbraham at the Above and Beyond KM blog has written an interesting post in response to Greg Lambert's post on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. Greg's original post "Testing your law Library strategy" looked at how the "McKinsey tests" could be used to evaluate your Library's strategy.

A lot of Greg's post looks at how we are competing against both Internal (other departments, Paralegals etc) and External (free databases) competitors and how a Law Library's strategy should "deal" with this competition.

To be honest I'd never thought about internal departments and individuals being competitors but reading about it has made me think that to a degree there are internal competitors. These come in other forms as well, for example people may want to move away from using a central place to store know-how because they believe the database or tool they've created is better and more intuitive. Or they may feel that the out-of-the-box DMS search is better then the Enterprise Search. For whatever reason Law Libraries will have natural competitors, how we deal with these competitors is perhaps the most important point of both Greg's and VMaryAbraham's post.

In her post called "A Better Strategy for Law Firm Librarians" VMaryAbraham sees things slightly differently...

"Competition is not the best way to frame this. Focusing on beating and leveraging the competition requires a lot of institutional strength and influence. While some law firm libraries have this, many do not. It may be fun to consider a David and Goliath scenario that pits your law firm library against Google, but do you actually want to try that in real life?"

She follows this up by asking:

"Google is now engrained in our online lives. It is always available and always ready to help. It works outside regular business hours and doesn’t leave me to hanging while it helps someone else. While it doesn’t always guide the us to the right resources, how does it stack up against all the super-busy law firm librarians we know?"

There's no doubt Law Library's cant compete against Google and to do so would be a waste of time. Perhaps what we should be doing and I imagine people are doing is guiding people in the best use of free online resources to supplement some of the high value resources law libraries purchase.

After all if you cant beat your competition, you might as well embrace it!