Change of venue: Oakland County Law Library collection finds a new home

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By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

Some 18 months in the making, there now are new digs for a substantial portion of the Adams-Pratt collection of legal texts from the Oakland County Law Library.

On Monday, the Auburn Hills Campus of Cooley Law School officially became the new home for approximately 23,000 volumes of legal materials, previously housed at the Oakland County Courthouse.

The shift was signified during a rededication ceremony October 4 at Cooley in an event attended by officials from the law school, Oakland County, the Oakland County Library Board, the Oakland County Bar Association, and the Oakland County Bar Foundation.

The sizeable chunk of the Law Library's collection was transferred to Cooley Law School as part of a consolidation plan designed to save Oakland County more than $1 million in annual operating costs.

The plan to merge the law libraries was formally proposed by Cooley President Don LeDuc in a March 31, 2009 letter to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bill Bullard Jr.

According to library officials, the Adams-Pratt collection includes state and federal statutes and case reports, digests, treatises and law reviews, and a wide range of specialized legal materials. The addition of the Adams-Pratt collection makes Cooley's library the “largest and most comprehensive legal collection in the county,” according to Cooley officials.

“The collection dates back to 1909,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a prepared statement. “It has great roots in our community and will offer our citizens, members of the bar, and Cooley's students increased use at its new home, all at a great savings to the Oakland County taxpayers.”

The Adams-Pratt County Law Library was founded in 1960 and moved to its current site in the West Wing of the Circuit Court complex in 1994. It is part of a three-pronged county library operation that includes the Research Library and the LVPI, short for the Library for the Visually and Physically Impaired. Combined, the three libraries are housed in some 27,000 square feet of space, 15,000 of which is reserved for the Law Library operation, which in 1976 was renamed in honor of Oakland County jurists Clark Adams and Philip Pratt.

While a portion of the Adams-Pratt collection is now at Cooley, the County Law Library still is operational at the Circuit Court site, offering patrons core materials related to Michigan and federal law and court rules. The preservation of those materials will serve to assist pro se litigants, as well as attorneys involved in cases at the site.

The addition of a portion of the Adams-Pratt collection at Cooley is a “great honor,” according to Cooley President Don LeDuc, who also serves as dean of the four-campus law school.

“I hope that visitors to the library will feel welcome and have a chance to not only read the texts, but do so in a comfortable environment that provides an ideal setting to study the law,” LeDuc said.

The Cooley library is open from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends, offering patrons an extended opportunity to use the texts.

A plaque was unveiled Monday during the library ceremony, recognizing the rededication of the collection.

“Our local law school seems to be the best home for this historic collection,” said Bill Bullard Jr., chair of the County Board of Commissioners. “For years, our local attorneys and citizens have used these legal research materials to support arguments given in the courts. In the collection's new home, they will remain available to the local law community while also being at the fingertips of tomorrow's attorneys.”

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