Recently The New York Times published an article by David W. Dunlap called 'So Little Paper to Chase in a Law Firm's New Library' about how a major law firm's relocation resulted in "leaving behind" nearly 95% of their physical library collection.

The article has lead the President of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), Holly M. Riccio, to write a Letter to the Editor pointing out that the article failed to understand the shift to digital that has allowed for such a large discard of print material.

Riccio writes:

“Given the author’s rhetorical strategy, one might conclude that Kaye Scholer’s library was “left behind” in the firm’s move. To the contrary, the law library was transformed into a comprehensive, firm-wide digital repository of legal information and resources.

Law libraries, like newspapers, are going through major transitions as they adapt to changes in technology and culture. Our members are helping to lead the way—reconceiving the library as a service, a virtual clearinghouse of legal knowledge, not just a physical space.”

Dunlap's article does note that a partner of the Firm does still have a print copy of a key text in his new office, and points to the location shift of the library from "the heart of the firm's headquarters" to "the basement".

What do you think? Was Dunlap too negative about the move? Was he too focused on the decorative nature of the physical editions "beloved of any photographer, videographer or cinematographer"? Do you agree with Riccio that "these transformations are necessary"?


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