Document Type



We examine the libraries' roles within the "epistemic foundation of society.” Our analysis is in response to the omission of Yale Law Dean Gerken of the role of libraries in her recent article about legal education's new focus and to remarks by AALS President Vicki Jackson that suggest an uncertain role for libraries. We have adapted holistic ecological media theory, as developed by Ronald Deibert, to reject a technologically deterministic view of libraries as having no future. We have considered the role of law libraries in the social epistemology or cognitive authority of the legal community, the role of law libraries as knowledge institutions (in multiple facets), the function of technology (including language and media), and geopolitical and physical considerations. We have reviewed our past in terms of reading as a legal profession, considered the development of libraries, and have speculated about the future--all through ecological holistic lenses. We conclude that libraries are not victims to be sacrificed on the altar of technological determinism—they have many features, not only compatible with the current and future information environment, but valuable to the society embedded within it.