The University of Saskatchewan Law Library: "Stories of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"
On May 6, 2014 the Star Phoenix ran a story entitled, "University of Saskatchewan to close four campus libraries." Some readers may have interpreted this story as suggesting that the University's law library will be closed in two years' time as a result of TransformUS. Let me reassure you that this interpretation is incorrect. The law library is not closing. What is proposed as part of the TransformUS project is a reconfiguration of the law library.
The University of Saskatchewan's law library is one of the few in Canada that currently houses its entire collection on site. Having said that, at a certain point it may be impossible to continue to do so because of space limitations. Consequently, some of the law library's collection may have to be stored off-site (at some point in the future) but within quick and ready access for patrons. This is the current state of many law libraries associated with Canadian law schools.
Costs associated with running the law library still need to be addressed. There are many options for running a more cost efficient library service, some of which we will be discussing in the near future. Before the reconfiguration plan is completed, the Dean of the Library, who is the project lead for this initiative, will be consulting with all key stakeholders, including College of Law faculty, students, and alumni, as well as practitioners. The goal is to formulate a plan that simultaneously addresses the University's fiscal concerns while ensuring that the law library, in conjunction with the rest of the University Library, remains able to support the law school's mission of pedagogy and scholarship as well as its sense of community. In addition, the University, the University Library and the College of Law will work closely together to ensure that library-related accreditation criteria for the law school continue to be met. A great university and a great law school deserve nothing less.
While it is not known what this reconfiguration will fully entail, the University has committed that there will continue to be study space for students within the current law library space. In addition, students, faculty and practitioners will continue to have access to core legal resources of high demand material on site.
In short, the law library is not closing - it is changing. It is our job, as a community, to ensure that the change that occurs is a positive one for all patrons of the law library.
Sanjeev Anand, JD, LLM, PhD, QC
Dean of Law
University of Saskatchewan