By Austin Martin Williams
The Georgia State University College of Law Library traces its history back to the opening of the Georgia State University College of Law (“GSU Law”) in September 1982. Back then, the law library’s collection of just over 65,000 volumes took up only a small portion of the law school. Today, the law library covers the lower level of two buildings and contains a print and electronic collection of over 300,000 volumes.
Going beyond the call of a traditional academic library, the law library provides access to legal materials and research assistance for students, faculty and staff, the local legal community, and the general public. Since the law library is administered as a unit of GSU Law, separate from the University Library, its collection is built primarily to support the needs of law students and faculty. However, the library’s resources have also proved to be beneficial to practicing attorneys and self-represented litigants. The collection enables researchers to have access to primary law and secondary legal resources. The library specializes in Georgia legal materials and includes amongst its collection Supreme Court of Georgia and Court of Appeals of Georgia opinions, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, and practice materials and forms specifically related to Georgia law. As part of the law school faculty, the law librarians also teach legal research courses as part of the law school curriculum.
In August 2010, the law library made a special effort to increase student engagement by hiring two reference/student services librarians. Together, they have worked to increase student outreach and programming. Among other initiatives, they created a blog entitled “The Blackacre Times“, a Facebook page, and a student advisory council that meets twice a semester and provides feedback and suggestions on library resources and services.
This past year the law library ushered in a new era with a change in library leadership and the coming of a new building. Kris Niedringhaus succeeded Nancy Johnson as the Associate Dean for Library and Information Services in May 2013. Johnson retired after having served in this role since 1986. In September 2013, GSU Law also officially broke ground on a new building, which is set to be completed in time for the start of the Fall 2015 semester. The library will encompass the top two floors of the new building and feature such amenities as a cafe, two outdoor terraces, and a formal reading room.
Needless to say, a lot has changed over the years. New expansion, new leadership, new personnel, and new initiatives. As we enter a new period in the life of the law library, we are mindful not to forget how far we have come over the past three decades. We hope the library will continue to serve as a valuable resource to Georgia State University and the Atlanta legal community for many years to come.
To learn more about the Georgia State University College of Law Library, please visit http://law.gsu.edu/library/.