We advise that the Librarian should look at potential membership libraries to make sure the choice supports the needs of the firm beyond the basics of research services and document delivery. Evaluate their general, special and archival collections and ancillary services. Outline the benefits. What is the Return on Investment (ROI) to your firm? Prepare a Business Case so that management or finance understands. Membership means something entirely different in this context and you need to explain it in terms they can understand.
When we perform Modern Library audits, we are always looking for creative ways to advise firms on how they can supplement shrinking collections and tight staffing. One solution we have found to be of value is to recommend that firms explore joining a membership Library to support their specific needs. Generally speaking, membership libraries can help with additional research and content support, just in time document delivery, and access to specialized collections.
It is not just research and documents, membership libraries have embraced new models to support their members. We like to tell our clients that membership libraries can fill needs you may not even know you have. Consider that some offer plug in apps that interface with SharePoint pushing curated information that the Library can use to enhance their online catalogs and practice group pages. Others provide remote office and meeting space and even advertising opportunities. One size does not fit all when it comes to choosing a membership Library or a level of membership; however it is worth your time to investigate how a Membership Library could be a wise investment for your firm.
Michael Feit earned his J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago and was an executive at Westlaw before founding Feit Consulting 16 years ago. Feit Consulting partners with law firm administrators and legal information professionals to optimize vendor contracts and the management and delivery of legal information resources by providing leading-edge, customized solutions. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org