Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Minutes of ALLICE meeting 18th June 2008

Meeting held at :

Anthony Collins LLP 134 Edmund Street Birmingham B3 2ES

1. Planning a law firm library

Wragge and Co are moving offices in 2011 and Susanne Homer wanted to gather experience and opinion on how to plan a law library in an office move. She currently has 22 departmental libraries within practice areas and wondered to what extent firms have centralised their library services in the age of online information.

Martineau Johnson and Cobbetts (Birmingham & Leeds) have single centralised library services. Eversheds (Leeds & London) have a general reference collection in a central library and departmental subject libraries.
Eversheds (Birmingham) has a main central library in a separate building.
Anthony Collins has 3 practice libraries (related departments share a practice library).
Cobbetts (Manchester) has a central library with departmental subject libraries.

All firms have recently moved offices. Generally, fee earners prefer the decentralised approach where resources are on their desks, or at least close by. However, libraries are finding this might not be the most effective use of resources, particularly in the online information age. Choice depends upon priorities for your service. What do you want to achieve. How do you want to raise your profile? What space do you have within your office?

Members then discussed the pros and cons of print v electronic format for resources and how much duplication we have in formats. Some libraries have cancelled all print subscriptions where electronic versions exist and others have reduced print copy numbers to a minimum to encourage users to use the electronic version.

It was suggested that this would be an interesting theme for the next ALLICE meeting.

There was also discussion on the role of Professional Support Lawyers (PSL’s) in libraries and information provision. Some concern was expressed that librarians manage departmental libraries but PSL’s take the credit and that PSL’s do not have the information skills to run departmental libraries.

It was suggested this would be an interesting theme for another ALLICE meeting although it might exclude some members from non-firm backgrounds.

Members offered tips on planning an office move:

Be involved on the planning committee or be in touch with architects and designers.
Specify shelving requirements, e.g. height, depth, length, position in library, growth space.
Specify electronic and network sockets for PCs.
Employ specialist library removal firm.

2. AOB

Tricia asked for an update on Birmingham Law Society Library. Hazel has left the library, and it is now staffed on Monday and Friday only and is for reference only. Birmingham Law Society are discussing the move of their library to Aston University this autumn but it is unlikely that Aston will offer the same level and conditions of service. Caroline and Pat asked members to email them with comments, e.g. which resources are used, what services to keep, e.g. a postal lending service.

Adele Chapken has a friend (Carol) who is looking for administrative work in a library. She is returning to work after a career break. Please contact Adele if you know of any suitable roles.

The EIA training event is likely to take place in October. This will be a lecture style event, rather than hands-on, because of venues and costs. Details are being finalised, and will be advertised shortly.

No one applied for the ALLICE bursary this year. Committee decided to keep open for BIALL conference in Manchester in 2009.

Committee is looking for ideas for future ALLICE meetings, and is planning a summer social event.

Members requested an up-to-date members list, to reflect recent job movements.

Aine Astbury (No 5 Chambers) has returned from maternity leave and is working 2.5 days per week as a job share with Hilary Boucher.

European Information – an ALLICE seminar

European Information – an ALLICE seminar

The European Information Association (EIA) are running a seminar for ALLICE on

13th October 2008 at 12.30


Cobbetts, One Colmore Square, Birmingham

It will be a 4 hour seminar with sessions as follows:

* The European Union - how it works

* EUR-Lex - legislation, preparatory documents, case law

* Useful websites for European information

* National implementing measures

The seminar leader will be Ian Mayfield, European Documentation Librarian at Portsmouth University and accredited EIA trainer.

There will be a nominal £10 charge for ALLICE members but the seminar is also open to non-members for whom the cost is £30. This includes a light buffet lunch which will be available from 12.00 noon.

Places at the seminar are limited and booking forms can be obtained from

Phil Uttley
Hammonds LLP
0121 222 3487

I enclose a cheque (made payable to ALLICE) for £…………..

(£10 for members & £30 for non-members)

Friday, 20 June 2008




THURSDAY 17TH JULY 2008 2.00 PM TO 4.00 PM

This FREE half-day visit is an opportunity to visit this stunning new library - one of the largest specialist health libraries in the country. As well as admiring the building there will also be the chance to learn about the wide range of electronic support services offered to students and to see a virtual ward with virtual patients.

Birmingham City University's newest library, the Mary Seacole Library, was officially opened on 27th June 2006. Located on the Edgbaston campus, the library occupies the whole ground floor of the state-of-the-art Seacole building which was awarded a Built in Quality award, for the Education category, at Celebrating Construction 2007.

The library was named after the pioneering nurse and heroine of the Crimean War – Florence Nightingale without the (mythical) lamp! It serves more than five thousand nursing and midwifery staff and students of the Faculty of Health and is part of a £30 million development at Birmingham City University.

This is the first library in the country to have a LiveReader, a machine designed specifically to help students who are either visually impaired or dyslexic. The machine uses a touch screen combined with CCTV technology to scan text, allowing it to be manipulated by changing text size, font and colour, and it will also read the text aloud.

Further innovations have included the launch of a 24 hour electronic enquiry service – Ask the Library. In 2007 the Mary Seacole Library piloted the use of RFID technology, which combined with self-issue and self-return, has greatly improved the ease of use of the library.

The Mary Seacole Library is in Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3TN, about 2 miles west of the city centre and is on a number of bus routes from the centre. For directions and further details see http://www.library.bcu.ac.uk//whatswr.htm.

And why not combine your visit with a trip to Birmingham’s botanical gardens, just across the road? (http://www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk/)

If you would like to attend the visit please contact Chris Kostrzebski, IMI plc Business Development Support, Lakeside, Solihull, Birmingham B37 7XZ, email: Christine.kostrzebski@imiplc.com, tel: 0121 717 3904

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Hollywood Librarian

As mentioned at the ALLICE meeting this week, please find details of showing times and dates for the Hollywood Librarian:

Mon 7th July 2008 : Doors open 4.00pm
Venue : Baker Hall, City North Campus, Franchise St, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU

Tues 8th July 2008 : Doors open 3.30pm
Venue : Emma Jessie Phipps Lecture Theatre, Gosta Green Campus, Corporation Street, Gosta Green, Birmingham B4 7DX

They are asking for a £3.50 donation on the door to cover costs and a contribution to the Letisha and Charmaine Educational Awards Charity which is being supported by the Festival.

Please contact Janice Bell on 0121 331 5642 if you would like to attend a showing.