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Keeping with the times in legal study

Mount Kenya University Librarian Ms. VICTORIA MUNYAO explains how the university’s law library continually adapts to the changing landscape of legal education to ensure students get relevant support at all times:

Q. How critical is the idea of a specific library for law students?

Answer: Law students, in their day-to-day studies, seek and generate a lot of information due to the nature of their coursework. This demand on them goes back to medieval times.

The law library has some rare books and information materials that are sometimes too expensive for the average student to purchase. Here, they can easily retrieve and use them.

The university has spent a lot of money to stock books and e-resources in the Parklands Law Campus Library.

Students taking photos during celebration of accreditation of Law  programsStudents taking photos during celebration of accreditation of Law programs

Q. What makes the MKU School of Law library unique?

A. The MKU SoL library continually adapts to the changing landscape of legal education. Unlike other common libraries that serve a large demography of users, the law library houses documents related to legal affairs that always requires special skills to handle. This refers especially to court judgements, legislative enactments, constitutions, treaties, administrative rules and regulations. Apart from these text books, reference books and professional journal publications are the core contents of any law library.

The library acts as a dynamic centre for idea interaction, whereby we are not only a “warehouse of books” but also a centre of cooperative learning. We have discussion areas, vast reading areas and an e-resource centre to provide multiple academic support service in one convenient location.

Our goal is to provide adequate information at the right time to fulfil the mission and help to increase libraries’ operational efficiency and cater to the ever-increasing needs of our clientele.

Q. What kind of resources does MKU’s law library boast and in what volumes?

A. MKU SoL boasts of a myriad of resources with our physical collection of over 15,000 volumes. These include both local and international law resources and a growing list of an electronic database of law reports, statutes, journals and internet resources (such as Lexis Nexis, Jstor, EBSCO Host), Kenya law reports and many more.  

As MKU SoL, we have found out that we can deliver a higher level of service quality with electronic resources. We are shaping our e-resource subscription portfolios to address this reality.

For many, if not most campus users of journals, electronic access is a productivity enhancer. MKU’s law library has invested in an e-resource centre and off-site access (virtual library). Students and faculty can access our e-resource database from outside the campus, anywhere in the world. Free internet and a Wi-Fi throughout the library and campus as a whole provides easy access to the available resources.

Q. Are there plans to add on to existing resources?

A. The library is continuously increasing its resources and updating to the changing technological advancements.

Q. Any other comment?

A. MKU Law Library staff members are highly qualified and take a leadership role in supporting learners. They work with the legal writing programme, creating special training modules and joining with the faculty in developing the necessary curricular components. The aim is to enhance the training of students in the use of technology in research, such as use of legal databases in legal research.

The librarians maintain close contact with students and faculty, thus making them part of the legal effort at the other end of the process. They protect the availability and quality of legal information, and ensure open and equal access to legal information by everybody.

I will end with a quote from J.K. Rowling: “When in doubt, go to the library”.

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