I would like to share some of my impressions of this time with you in the form of what I hope is an interesting, if slightly ‘fictional’, day.

It was a great experience to be an intern in an academic law library with a vision ‘to be the best academic law library in the world’. Within the internship period, I visited the Harvard Law School Library and I attended the 104th Annual Meeting and Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries in Philadelphia from 23–26 July 2011.

Architectural wonders

I was so excited on this first morning. As I walked through the campus at Yale, I was amazed to see a genuine architectural surprise: like a jewel box building! When I got closer, I realized it was the ‘Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library’ (http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke), one of the largest buildings in the world devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts. The Library building is made from very thin marble that filters light so that rare materials can be displayed without damage. The interior looks like a glass book wall. It took just ten minutes to get to the Law School from my hotel – a short journey compared to the usual 90 minutes it takes me to get to work by car in Istanbul.

“I was amazed to see a genuine architectural surprise: like a jewel box building!”

Kerem giving his talk on ‘Turkish Legal Research’ at Yale Law School Library

I met my American colleagues for the first time in the Law School, which has an historic appearance and has been recently renovated. Inside the building, the rooms and corridors were very beautiful and this made me feel comfortable and inspired. Next, I was given a really interesting guided tour of the Yale campus and libraries by Ryan Harrington.

A slamdunk meeting and speech

After the campus tour, I was invited to give a speech on ‘Turkish Legal Research’ to the librarians at their ‘slamdunk meeting’, which sounds like a basketball game but is actually a kind of monthly lunch meeting of the librarians at Yale Law School Library.

First, we had lunch (delicious sandwiches and salad), and then I spoke to the librarians. They had some tough questions for me, such as why the Turkish state uses certain aspects of Italian criminal law. After the speech, I prepared a research guide on Turkish Legal Research, which was published in the Yale Law Library – Foreign and International Blog (http://library.law.yale.edu/blogs/foreign-international-blog/2011/09/26/legal-research-turkey)


After the slamdunk meeting, I had coffee and headed to the Access Services Department where I met Julien Aiken. I learned a lot from Julien, especially about innovative marketing. The Yale Law School Library has some great new ideas for attracting patrons. They try to position the library as a ‘third place’ and help students in every way imaginable, such as lending iPads, laptops, Kindles and even umbrellas! (The third place is a term used in the concept of the community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace.) One of the most innovative approaches is that they lend Monty, ‘a certified library therapy dog’ to the students for 30-minute anti-stress sessions. Monty of course has his own library record: http://encore.law.yale.edu/iii/encore/record/C_Rb1039135?lang=eng

With colleagues at Yale Law School Library after his presentation

Because of these innovative ideas, Monty and the Yale Law School Library have been featured in the press, such as in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/education/22dog.html).

I also learned that the library uses ‘Borrow Direct (BD)’ instead of ‘recall’ for checked-out materials. BD is a service which enables Yale patrons to borrow circulating materials from the libraries of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton (and vice-versa). Patrons are able to search a combined Borrow Direct catalogue of more than 50 million volumes at all nine participating institutions. Finally, the patron may pick up the library materials within four business days and return the materials at their own library.

Photo of Monty by Yale Law School

Another interesting service offered is ‘scan on demand’ for those who need print journal articles. A patron may request print journal articles via the inter-library lending (ILL) system, then the librarian scans the articles and sends them electronically via ILL. This creates a win/win solution: for the patron, who may access the article quickly and easily, and also for the library, since print journal collection use increases.

My last, but not least, impression was the full-time equivalent (FTE) librarian ratio of the law school. There are 40 librarians and 700 FTE, so that the ratio is 1:17, a great ratio to support the faculty and the students. [The main photo shows Kerem at the Access Services Desk.] Also, one reference librarian deals with 6–7 faculty members. They meet at the beginning of the semesters, when librarians are able to inform faculty about new implementations and services, and ask for their recommendations, requests and feedback. I love this service.

“One of the most innovative approaches is that they lend Monty, ‘a certified library therapy dog’ to the students for 30-minute anti-stress sessions.”

Although there are many more things to tell you about, there is just not enough room for them all. Finally, I would like to say that, especially in this era of exponential globalization, meeting with colleagues around the world and seeing their best practices is a great tool for improving our own practices. This internship was very rewarding for me.

I would like to thank the editors of ‘Insights’ for giving me the chance to share my US library experiences with colleagues. I hope you enjoyed reading about my ‘day’.