Connecting with Alumni

In the fall of 2016, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Ross-Blakley Law Library will move from their current suburban locations in Tempe, Arizona, to the Arizona Center for Law and Society in the heart of downtown Phoenix. We are excited for the many opportunities this will bring: a beautiful new building, new urban location, and new proximity to the many College of Law alumni who work downtown in law firms, courts, and government agencies.  While the Law Library has always provided services for alumni including check-out privileges, photocopy services, and on-campus access to many of our databases, we hope to leverage our new proximity to the legal and political hub of the state to further connect with alumni.  With a little over a year left before the move, we have started planning how to do this. Below are a few ideas we are considering.

Alumni awareness
Marketing services and resources to alumni requires different formats than marketing to other user groups. One key aspect of this marketing is making sure alumni are aware of what the law library offers for them. Ways to achieve this include:

  • Utilize social media accounts. Connect with local law firms, government agencies, and courts through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Create library LinkedIn account. The ALL-SIS Task Force on Library Marketing and Outreach suggests creating a library presence on LinkedIn, since it is a more professional site than Facebook and Twitter. The Task Force reports in its white paper titled Marketing and Outreach in Law Libraries that many career services departments already use LinkedIn as a means of connecting alumni with potential employers and building the department’s professional relationships.
  • Create relationships with court and law firm librarians. Law firm and court librarians can refer the attorneys they work with to your resources and services when they align with attorney needs.

Alumni partnerships
Creating avenues for alumni to partner with the law library allows for sustained interaction and communication.

  • Plan events that involve alumni. We have sponsored a Legal Research Panel for the last two years which features 3-4 practicing attorneys in a variety of legal positions. Events like this connect alumni to the law library by creating a forum for library staff and alumni to interact as well as provide a networking opportunity for students.
  • Offer legal research instruction for alumni. Alumni value reference services, legal research workshops, or other library services that can help them navigate unfamiliar research tasks or prepare them to be “practice ready” researchers.

Alumni resources
Investing in products designed for alumni use gives alumni a reason to use the library’s resources. An example of such a product is the HeinOnline Alumni Access Program. This resource allows remote alumni access to the HeinOnline Law Journal Library as well as to Fastcase through the HeinOnline interface.

We would love to hear how other libraries connect with their alumni as well – please share your strategies in the comments!

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