The Belmont University College of Law Library is the third academic law library that I have created in my professional career. I created my first law school library at the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1999, and my second at Elon University in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2006. Ave Maria, Elon, and now Belmont received provisional ABA-accreditation in the shortest possible period time and I’m happy to report that the Law Library was a strong component of the overall accreditation effort in each case.
The advent of technology has greatly altered the format landscape of the typical academic law library. The law library that I created at Ave Maria fifteen years ago looks much different than the library I have created at Belmont Law primarily because of the increased availability of legal information in digital format. For example, I had the law reviews (both primary and specialty) of all the ABA-approved law schools in hardcopy at Ave Maria. At Belmont, however, I purchased only the hardcopy law reviews of the ABA-approved law schools in Tennessee. In addition, at Ave Maria, I purchased the statutes of all 50 fifty states. At Belmont, I have only purchased the statutes of Tennessee and those states that are physically contiguous to Tennessee. In these two areas, all the missing material on the shelves is contained in databases on student and library computers.
What has not changed, however in the last fifteen years is the law library’s importance to the overall mission of the law school itself. I expect the law library at Belmont Law, as it was at Ave Maria and Elon, to represent the intellectual heart of the law school experience. It will be a library providing resources, services and support, thus allowing our graduates to “hit the ground running” by facilitating our faculty’s efforts to integrate traditional legal analysis with practical legal skills.
The law library’s collection is rich and full and is designed to meet the research needs of the law school’s students and satisfy the demands of the law school curriculum. It also supports the teaching, research, and service interests of the faculty as well as serving the Law School’s special teaching, research, and service objectives. The collection exists in multiple formats (yes, we still have plenty of books), and is particularly strong in U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence, U.S. Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Tennessee legal materials. The emerging fields of Bioethics and Biotechnology are also represented.
Titles that support the College of Law’s mission of experiential learning and its two curricular tracks (i.e. Business and Dispute Resolution) have also been purchased. Furthermore, in an effort to support the Law School’s two certificate programs, titles in Health Law and Entertainment/Music Business have also been acquired.
So, please come and experience all the Belmont Law Library has to offer. We’ll supply the books, bytes, and service and leave it to you to bring the enthusiasm and interest.
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