Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions
New Product Award by AALL

Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions

Laurie Selwyn (Law Librarian [Ret.], USA) and Virginia Eldridge (Grayson County, Texas Law Library, USA)
Release Date: October, 2012|Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 343
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2184-8
ISBN13: 9781466621848|ISBN10: 1466621842|EISBN13: 9781466621855
  • Printed-On-Demand (POD)
  • Usually ships one day from order
(Multi-User License)
List Price: $175.00
10% Discount:-$17.50
  • Multi-user license (no added fee)
  • Immediate access after purchase
  • No DRM
  • ePub with PDF download
Hardcover +
(Multi-User License)
  • Printed-On-Demand (POD)
  • Usually ships one day from order
  • Multi-user license (no added fee)
  • Immediate access after purchase
  • No DRM
  • ePub with PDF download
(Individual Chapters)
  • Purchase individual chapters from this book
  • Immediate PDF download after purchase or access through your personal library
Description & Coverage

While there are common misconceptions regarding the definition of a public law library, it can be defined as a government mandated library which provides the public with access to legal resources. Largely, public law libraries are instituted by state or federal law.

Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions aims to introduce firsthand knowledge on the funding, organizational structures, and governance related to the public law library. This book includes comprehensive research for current and future public law librarians to provide administrative guidance and professional sources essential for running a public law library.


The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Collection Development
  • Federal and National Law Libraries
  • Organizational Structures
  • Patron Base
  • Private Law Librarians
  • Public Law Librarians
  • Reference Service
Reviews and Testimonials

Nominated for the 2013 New Product Award by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)


Retired law librarian Selwyn and Eldridge (Grayson County, Texas Law Library) introduce the little known special library by defining the public law library, reviewing its history, and discussing its administration and operations. Unlike, for example general public or academic libraries, they say, public law libraries do not have a commonly known or clearly stated duty or obligations, and often find themselves at the whims and mercy of parent organizations. They cover patron base; governance and organizational structures; general library management; personnel; public relations; collection development; technology, contracts, and electronic resources; technical services; and public services. 

– Book News Inc. Portland, OR

Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions by Laurie Selwyn and Virginia Eldridge is an educational and insightful compendium of information for all types of law librarians who work as public servants. Through primarily experiential and anecdotal evidence of public law library operations, supplemented with data extracted from listservs, informal surveys, and industry news, the authors reaffirm the continuing validity of public law libraries as necessary venues for the provision of legal reference and research to a growing service population that includes private and public lawyers, judges, government officials, students, professors, inmates, members of the public, and pro se litigants.

– Kathleen M. Dugan, Esq. is the head librarian of the Cleveland Law Library Association/Cuyahoga County Law Library Resources Board (American Associate for Law Libraries)

With years of practical experience behind them the authors try to be as comprehensive as possible, including chapters on the patron base, how to organize the library, library management, hiring and staffing personnel, public relations, collection development, technology and electronic resources, technical services, and public services. [...] It will be useful for new law librarians needing up to date administrative guidance and professional resources for running or reviving a public law library.

– Sara Marcus, American Reference Books Annual

Selwyn and Eldridge, like mentors, offer readers great information and insight on public law librarianship, and provide guidance on how to best manage these special libraries…Public Law Librarianship is a thorough work, and at only 319 pages it is well organized and readable, with clean pages and graphics. This book will certainly be useful for public law librarians. It would also be a welcome addition to any law library, and it can serve as a reference tool for law library managers and law librarians who serve the public in some capacity. Finally, Public Law Librarianship would be a great asset in the libraries of library and information science programs.

– Benjamin T. Almoite, Librarian, Virginia State Law Library, Supreme Court of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Law Library Journal, Vol. 105:4 [2013-29]

– Winner of the Connie E. Bolden Publications Award

The extensive research and references within this book are impressive. The authors draw research from a range of sources, including quantitative and qualitative data gleaned from surveys conducted by Selwyn and Eldridge; these surveys and responses are included as appendices. This book is recommended for those working in law libraries and would also be useful to students and graduates interested in working in law libraries.

– Anne Sara, Australian Library Journal, Vol. 63, No. 3
Table of Contents
Search this Book:
Editor/Author Biographies
Laurie Selwyn, received her M.L.S. from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. After working in a number of public and academic libraries from 1980-2002, Selwyn accepted the position of County Law Librarian with the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office. Here she spear-headed the revival of the badly neglected and outdated library, updated the collection, and established policies and procedures encouraging library use as well as input concerning library needs. A frequent reviewer for "Library Journal", Selwyn has also reviewed for Legal Information Alert and Law Library Journal as well as contributed to such professional resources as A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science (Priscilla Shontz and Richard Murray. 2007. Libraries Unlimited), How to Thrive as a Solo Librarian (Carol Smallwood and Melissa Clapp. 2012. Scarecrow Press), and coauthored “The Public Law Library: A Place in Today’s World?” in Legal Information Alert, 29(3), 1,3 with Virginia Eldridge.
Virginia L. Eldridge received her M.L.S. from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN in 1985 and is currently Law Librarian for Grayson County, Texas. She began in this solo librarian position in 2007 following co-author Laurie Selwyn. She has presented papers at Computers in Libraries Conferences,Texas Library Association District 5 and the Southwestern Association of Law Libraries. Previously, Eldridge was Head of Library Systems at Vanderbilt University, Automation Assistant at Bryn Mawr College Tri-College Consortium, and before that she taught public school. She recently contributed a chapter in How to Thrive as a Solo Librarian (Carol Smallwood and Melissa Clapp. 2012. Scarecrow Press), and co-authored “The Public Law Library: A Place in Today’s World?” in Legal Information Alert, 29(3), 1,3 with Laurie Selwyn.
Editorial Policy
In order to ensure the highest ethical practices are achieved for each book, IGI Global provides a full document of policies and guidelines that all editors, authors, and reviewers are expected to follow. View Full Editorial Policy
Peer Review Process
The peer review process is the driving force behind all IGI Global books and journals. All IGI Global reviewers maintain the highest ethical standards and each manuscript undergoes a rigorous double-blind peer review process, which is backed by our full membership to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). The full publishing process and peer review are conducted within the IGI Global eEditorial Discovery® online submission system and on average takes 30 days. Learn More
Ethics & Malpractice
IGI Global affirms that ethical publication practices are critical to the successful development of knowledge. Therefore, it is the policy of IGI Global to maintain high ethical standards in all publications. These standards pertain to all books, journals, chapters, and articles accepted for publication. This is in accordance with standard scientific principles and IGI Global’s position as a source of scientific knowledge. Learn More
All of IGI Global's content is archived via the CLOCKSS and LOCKSS initiative. Additionally, all IGI Global published content is available in IGI Global's InfoSci® platform.