Yesterday, I went to visit the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Library, which serves practicing lawyers and clerks in Nova Scotia, but it also serves members of the general public. In speaking with the librarian there, I learned that an increasing percentage of people are self-representing in court (the Canadian Department of Justice reports that 50% and 80% of parties to civil/family actions are self-represented). Perhaps because of this, there is increasing usage by the general public of the Barristers’ Society Library. There are a couple of sources that they find are most used by the public: the Irwin Law Essentials of Canadian Law collection, which gives overviews and summaries of case law in specific areas, and Emond Montgomery titles. While they have these collections available electronically, they keep print copies that the public can use. They also recommend CanLII (a free resource on Canadian case law).
In this self study, one of my goals is to recommend improved collection development practices to support our students at all stages of the student lifecycle. While the paralegal program we offer is outside the scope of my LCP (I am focussing on skilled trades), this site visit prompted me to think about how NSCC library collections can complement what is available in the community, and in order to do this, I have to develop an understanding of what is available to our students when they are out working.
Over the next year, I will spend some time visiting special libraries that also serve the public, and I will talk with the public libraries about how they meet the needs of the public who are looking for industry-related resources.