OBA Public Service Award 2018 Law Library Deemed ‘Core of Our Enterprise as Omaha’s Law School’ 5/1/18 05/01/18 10:13:58 AM
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Troy C. Johnson, director of Creighton Law Library, has been described as someone who always wants to be helpful – perfect credentials for a law librarian.
OBA Public Service Award 2018
Law Library Deemed ‘Core of Our Enterprise as Omaha’s Law School’
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
The Omaha Bar Association has chosen the Creighton Law Library as the recipient of its non-attorney Public Service Award, which was initiated on Law Day in 1983. “While Creighton deans and professors have been previous award recipients, the law library has not,” said Dave Sommers, executive director of the OBA.
Sommers said that he’s “seen firsthand how helpful the library is in assisting members of the public, as well as lawyers, and alums … with their legal questions.”
Michael J. Kelly, interim dean of Creighton University School of Law, said that the Klutznick Law Library in the McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Legal Research Center (in the Ahmanson Law Center) is “at the core of our enterprise as Omaha’s law school. Not only is it an amazing repository of legal information, it is the cornerstone of the innovative legal scholarship I, our faculty and students produce and contribute to the nation’s ongoing legal dialogue each year.
“Home to the Creighton Law Review and the Omaha Bar Association, our law library is a rich resource for the entire community. The dedicated staff work hard to preserve our legal heritage, while simultaneously ensuring that Omaha’s lawyers and our alumni have the latest cases and statutes from every jurisdiction to resolve the most challenging legal disputes of our time. Creighton University School of Law would not be what it is without our treasured law library, and we are extremely proud of them for receiving this honor and award.”
“The library is open to the general public with legal research needs,” said Troy C. Johnson, director of Creighton Law Library. “This includes a spectrum of patrons, from pro se individuals to local attorneys. The library provides resources that specifically support both of these groups.
“For example, for pro se patrons we have a robust collection of NOLO publications. NOLO is a publisher that specializes in materials for people representing themselves.”
NOLO began publishing do-it-yourself legal guides in 1971. In the 40 years since its founding, NOLO has evolved with technology, developing do-it-yourself software.
“What makes NOLO items stand out is their ability to include the details that would really make a difference for someone representing themselves. There are rubber-meets-the-road details that NOLO publications provide that are often not in any other resource.”
Johnson continued, “For local attorneys, we have a robust collection that allows them to do deep level research on almost all major areas of law. We also have a Westlaw Patron Access account that is available to both pro se patrons and local attorneys. If someone is physically in our library, our electronic resource licenses allow any patron to access our entire collection. There are some very select resources that are only accessible to our students and faculty, but 99 percent of our materials can be accessed by anyone as long as they are in the law library. The Westlaw for Patrons account and a Bloomberg Law account that is accessible to all our patrons is a significant investment. If our focus was only on faculty and students we would not have resources like these.”
Creighton Law Library has some unique resources that the public wouldn’t find elsewhere, Johnson said. “We also work to support other libraries in Omaha. The Douglas County Law Library provides excellent resources and service, and we have an agreement to share resources with them. We also have had a history of providing a student to work at that library as a liaison and to help support both institutions.”
“We are very grateful to the Omaha Bar Association for recognizing us,” Johnson said. “Libraries are service-oriented institutions, so this type of award goes to the heart of what we do, and as such, we are very honored to receive it.”
Johnson said that he encourages members of the local bar to come in and look around the library and allow staff members to show them what the law library has to offer. “We can show subject-specific materials to attorneys for the area they practice,” Johnson continued. “I think it is useful for people to ask questions even when they don’t think there is any material they are missing. Asking questions allows attorneys to find materials they did not even know existed.
“The law library has a reference e-mail that can be used for questions without initially having to come into the library. [The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.] We can verify if there are resources on a specific topic and we can also address specific reference questions via email. Ultimately though, to have the best access local attorneys will want to consider coming into the library because then they will have access to all of our resources.”
Located on the second floor of the Ahmanson Law Center, the Klutznick Law Library/McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Legal Research Center has more than 45,000-square-feet of space and employs three librarians and six support staff, three of whom have obtained their Master of Library Science degrees. For more information, go to https://law.creighton.edu/academics/law-library. Or call 402-280-2875.
Each year on Law Day, two service awards are presented: The Robert M. Spire Public Service Award, which is presented to an attorney or attorney organization; and the Omaha Bar Association Public Service Award, which is presented to a non-attorney individual or organization.
The criteria under consideration for the award includes: (1) The public’s knowledge of the law or the legal system has been enhanced in some significant way by the recipient’s efforts; (2) The recipient has focused on providing service to the community for purposes other than pecuniary profits; and (3) The recipient has demonstrated long-term commitment to the enhancement of the public’s knowledge of the law.
The award recipients are nominated by the Omaha Bar Association’s Public Service Committee and chosen by the OBA Board of Directors. Committee co-chairs are Larry Roland of the Goosmann Law Firm and President-elect Patrick Cooper of Fraser Stryker PC LLO.