The Regent University Law Library: The First Thirty Years
46 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2011 Last revised: 9 Oct 2011
Date Written: 2009
In anticipation of the 30th anniversary of the Regent University Law Library (the "Law Library") in 2009, numerous festivities and commemoratives are planned. It seems fitting that a historical account of its beginnings and continuum should be part of the celebration.
The Law Library's development can be traced through three distinct periods that closely parallel those of the School of Law. The beginning years-from 1979 through 1985-can be characterized as a time of struggle, like the pangs of a prolonged birth. Although it began with adequate facilities and an admirable collection for a new school, the Law Library suffered through fluctuating finances and inadequate staffing. The period from 1986 through 1997 was a time of transition. The most recent period of 1998 through the present can be identified with maturation and stability.
The Law Library has evolved through several name changes. It began as the O.W. Coburn Law Library of the O.W. Coburn School of Law located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1986, after the Oral Roberts University ("ORU") gifted the library to CBN University, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, it became the CBN University Law Library. It received its current name, the Regent University Law Library, when the university changed its name in 1990. The library began operations when the ORU Law School opened for classes in fall 1979. The two institutions involved have some things in common; both are faith-based with charismatic leaders, and each fought to achieve accreditation from the American Bar Association ("ABA").
During the last thirty years, the American legal system has grown exponentially and the ability to harness new technologies has exploded, which has significantly affected the demands placed upon law libraries, librarians, and legal resources. This brief period has witnessed the transition from books, microforms," and card catalogs to a variety of digital formats and online catalogs that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Books, however, are still a large and important part of every academic law library collection.
This history is about books, buildings, databases, and a move halfway across the country. But more importantly, it is about the people who bring to life these inanimate objects. It is about the administrators, librarians, paraprofessionals, and student assistants who enable access to a world of legal information.
Keywords: 21 Regent U.L. Rev. 229, Regent University, Law Library
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