A Change of ‘Heart’: Developing Collections in an Academic Law Library

2019-08-12T02:23:00Z (GMT) by Kay Tucker

(2019) 27(2) Australian Law Librarian 61


The academic law library has long been designated the ‘heart’ of the law school. This concept, introduced by Christopher C. Langdell, Harvard Law School’s first dean, is evidenced by the central role that the Library has played in the provision of legal education, traditionally because of the nature of law itself, as information. A recent history of the Monash University Law School acknowledges that ‘a law library is an essential ingredient of a law school’ and notes that David Derham, in planning the building, designed it around the law library as the ‘working heart of the law school’. For over 50 years, the Monash Law Library has provided comprehensive collections of primary and secondary sources, essential to scholars and legal practitioners in training. Developments in technology and in the priorities of the University and the legal industry have resulted in changes to the way we develop and manage our collections, including the reduced size of the physical collection. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the Library remains the ‘heart’ of the Law School. (Introduction)