Now known as The LexisLibrary Awards, formerly The Halsbury’s Awards, these awards were established in 2007 by the BIALL Awards & Bursaries Committee and LexisNexis. They replaced the previously named BIALL Awards for Excellence which were presented in 2005 and 2006.
The LexisLibrary Awards were conceived in order to recognise, celebrate and reward the dedicated performance and outstanding service given by legal information services, law libraries and those teams managing legal collections and resources. These awards are particularly unique as they are the only legal information service awards that recognise the value and importance of dedicated team work within our sector.
2007 marked the centenary of Halsbury's Laws of England, the definitive authority of the law of England and Wales. BIALL and LexisNexis chose to celebrate the centenary by establishing these awards in association with BIALL for the Best Legal Information Services in the UK and Ireland. The inaugural presentations were made at a special event held at The Inner Temple on 16th October 2007.
The winners of the LexisLibrary Awards 2013 were announced on Thursday 13th June at the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) Annual Conference held at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow. The awards were presented by James Mullan, President of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians, and Tom Laidlaw, Head of Academic Development at LexisNexis.
Best Legal Information Service outside of London (Commercial Sector): Freeth Cartwright LLP
This year the award for Best Legal Information Service outside London goes to a team which has rapidly expanded in the last few years from 3 different office locations to 10 different office locations, in various parts of the country. During this period of significant change and upheaval, the library team have been superb in keeping abreast of online sources of information to support the fee earners in all their new locations and managing the move from hard copy to online to the benefit of all fee earners. They have continued to provide the same excellent and responsive level of service during all this change, maintaining their high standards to satisfy their users queries. The team’s skills in reviewing and recommending sources, and perhaps most crucially in negotiating with providers to ensure that the firm gets the very best deal on its resources, were highly praised.
Best Legal Information Service (Commercial Sector) - London Only: University of Law
You may be surprised to find this winner in this particular category, but they are a commercial organisation, and the person nominating them is based at their London site, so that’s why they’ve been included in this category. So now that your curiosity has been aroused, let me tell you more about them.
The Information Officer team are recognised by their teaching staff as experts in legal research. As well as delivering a comprehensive program of legal research support sessions they contribute to the design of course materials by designing and testing all library & legal research exercises contained in course materials. As part of a joint collaboration, they also teach legal research skills to Open University law students on OU Study and Research days. Each Information Officer is responsible for the delivery of library services at their centre while at the same time maintaining consistency with the principles and standards of the library service as a whole. To achieve this they communicate widely and often, using social media tools as well as more conventional methods. A recent team initiative involved tailoring their stock (both in print and electronic formats) to provide targeted support to Graduate Diploma in Law students completing their dissertations. By pooling their collective experience and analysing data from library management systems reports, they were able to ensure that 90% of the students found the information they needed immediately, either online or in the library stock, without having to resort to reservations. This initiative resulted in happy students and a more relevant library collection. Although dispersed, the team of Information Officers regularly share best practice across their centres to deliver an excellent, cost effective and consistent service to their students.
Best Legal Information Service (Non-Commercial Sector): The Advocates Library, Edinburgh
This year’s winner in the non-commercial sector is a library which has always been at the heart of its organisation, and which has played a key role in ensuring that its 450 users are well informed when they present their cases in court and give their opinions on legal matters. The professionally-qualified library staff of eighteen continually modernise and reinvent their services to meet their users’ needs. In recent years for example, they have adapted their services to reflect the growing trend for users to work at home rather than in the Library. They regularly survey their users’ needs and views, using the results to produce and implement an action plan to improve their service. In their 2012 survey, the Library staff were rated excellent by 94% of respondents, and described as “exemplary”, “pleasant, knowledgeable and extremely helpful” and providing a “consistently high quality and valuable” service. One of their users commented “most of the services provided by the librarians are not so much useful as essential and are provided with extraordinary efficiency and goodwill – have you ever thought of cloning yourselves?”. Their dedication to providing excellent customer service, and their willingness to adapt to change were consistently praised, which is not bad for a Library which was established in 1689 and has been providing library and information services to members of the Scottish Bar ever since.