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New Legal library

Briefs

Cite as: October 2012 86 (10) LIJ, p.11

The amalgamation of Victoria’s six law libraries and introduction of a 24-hour online library service for the state’s legal profession is a step closer following the signing of a formal agreement in August.

The heads of Victoria’s courts, VCAT, the Victorian Bar and the LIV have agreed to work towards the establishment of the new Law Library of Victoria (LLV) in 2013.

The LLV will streamline existing library services and improve access – both physical and electronic, for the state’s 17,000 legal practitioners and judiciary members. The first stage will amalgamate the libraries of the courts and VCAT, explained Justice Cameron Macaulay, who headed a Supreme Court-led review of library services in 2011.

The new law library will be set up as a statutory body, with a representative board of directors.

“I am very pleased to have reached this stage but in a way we have only just arrived at the start line,” Justice Macaulay said. “There is still a lot of work to do.”

He said the review highlighted the fact practitioners wanted to be able to access library resources from their desks. “There are no prizes for understanding online library services are the way of the future,” he said. “Flexible opening hours and direct access to the Supreme Court library, ideally avoiding the main security entry, were also identified as desirable outcomes for the profession.”

He said hard copy collections would remain at their current locations until the new LLV board developed a model addressing accommodation needs and how resources and information were to be shared.

At present, the courts and the profession operate six separate libraries, with varying levels of service and significant duplication.

Funding for the LLV will come from consolidating existing library budgets, as well as from current sources such as court fees, the sale of judgments, income from a library investment fund and a government contribution.

LIV president Michael Holcroft said the LIV was looking forward to improved services for members, including 24-7, remote access.

“We needed to bring efficiencies into play and this will certainly be a great resource for the whole profession.”

Mr Holcroft said the LIV library would continue to operate as usual.

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