Roger writing the LAWmag

Law Library Heaven

It was a cruel joke.

With an undergrad from Oxford and a law degree from U. of A., he should have known better.

It was past 10 at night and the stench in the hockey locker room was unbearable.

But I was shaving so I should of been cut ... some slack.

The jokes about a "hot date" were bad enough but then, like a dart whistling through the air came the words:

"No ... he's got a date with a law library!"

UVic new law libraryVery funny.

But who am I fooling.

I am in love.

I'm in love with a law library.

With its cool modern deco lines and curves, with row upon row upon row of the Federal Reporter, Beavan and the Dominion Law Reports - and that's just the first floor - what's there not to love?

It's been a long wait for us, here, in Victoria.

For two years, she was shut down to all but students, operating on a very impractical reserve system. As a practicing lawyer, I can't imagine having to rely on such a system, as is in place at the law school at UBC. Frankly, the system rules out any use for those in practice. So wait was all we could do, with only the occasional and expensive trip to the Vancouver Law Courts Law Library offering occasional relief.

Every two or three months, a mournful soul would pop in just to stare at the brown paper covering the windows and the five million dollar renovations of the aging Priestly Law Library in Victoria. A website was set up to serve as a support network but it is, and almost always has been woefully out-of-date.

Library staff peered sadly over the stacks of books and papers threatening to collapse each desk, answering queries about "when" with a shrug of their collective shoulders.

But then it happened. Last week, the lights were turned on and with little fanfare (the official opening is in January), the main doors were opened, at least to the main floor. The second floor followed a few days later and life has returned.

The new entrance has a set of sofas and lounge chairs facing a wall of delicious law journals ... the ABA Journal (Chicago) ... the Solicitor's Journal (London). The far wall is all glass and faces into a small forest which as always back-dropped the Faculty of Law at UVic.

The United States, Australia and other law reports are given second class treatment, confined to expandable stacks.UVic law books

How can you do this to the like of F. or Am. Jur.?

Why, if the Americans found out, it's be enough to spark a trade war. I thought free trading nations had to afford foreign law reports the same treatment that they afford such domestic or national items (i.e. no discrimination)? That ought to go over well with the Priestly librarians, already short on space.

I guess a law library is really no place for a litigator.

The blind can always reconnoitre by the howling elevator. It has always howled, wind or no wind.

Some things never change and God bless it.

But that elevator goes straight to the much taller ceilings of law library heaven. Upstairs, no law reports but law books (doctrine) and law journals galore.

For a relatively small urban center, this library gives Victoria a law library that rivals that of much bigger cities. I know as I've visited more libraries in more countries than any other person not benefiting from a university law librarian travel budget.

No lawyer could walk a single stack of books on the second floor without seeing several titles that whisper "Take me! Take me!" as you walk past, pretending to not notice. But who can resist Lindley on Partnership, (9th Edition, 1924) ... Graham on Poor Law (1922) ... Lyons and Block's 1929 Edward Coke: Oracle of the Law?

So many law books - over 200,000 - so little time.

William Roughead's The Trial of Mary Bland (1914)  ! Beaudoin's Le fédéralisme au Canada (2000)!

And, just in case I run into Professor Galloway, Some Old Scots Judges (1914) by W. Forbes Gray.


Help me!

Tomorrow, I drop my youngest off at her elementary school at 8:30 and then ... hmmm ... I think I'll travel North on Foul Bay until I hit UVic. I'll pay my three bucks in daily parking fees, get myself a hot coffee and sit myself down next to the 178 volume 1915 edition of the English Reports and fully indulge my addiction.

First, though, I'll shave.

Posted in Access to Justice and Legal Information