Monday, November 17, 2008

Coffee Talk Training Sessions at the Supreme Court of Canada Library

Getting people to come to training sessions in legal research is never easy: law students, law clerks, lawyers, other personnel are always busy, they may not be working on your presentation topic and therefore see no reason to attend, or they would rather not be lectured to for 45 minutes.

Solution: bribe them with free coffee!

OK, not really. Though free coffee is part of the deal.

Last week, we librarians at the Supreme Court of Canada started a series of "coffee talks", very, very brief weekly sessions lasting no more than 15 minutes in English and then 15 minutes in French. Each session shows a few quick research tricks on a very narrowly circumscribed issue. And people get all the coffee they can drink. At 10AM, which is perfect timing.

The advantages are obvious, we hope:
  • it is easier for people at the Court to spare 10-15 minutes
  • it is easier for us to prepare short sessions
  • we can repeat topics throughout the year
  • we can easily add lots of new content to the Intranet on "how to" do this and "how to" do that
  • it is good marketing
We have come up with a long list of topics. It is very eclectic but addresses the kinds of questions that pop up frequently:
  • how to save money finding and reading Canadian cases in Quicklaw or WestlaweCarswell
  • how to quickly find legislative history materials
  • tricks in our catalogue
  • advanced Google
  • how to quickly find treaty materials
  • 2 or 3 quick ways of noting up UK cases
  • deciphering legal citations from places like France and pre-1865 England
  • who is this Mr. Halsbury and why has he written all those laws of England?
  • etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:44 pm


Blogger Shaunna said...

Great idea. I like the 10 a.m. timing. Question - do you have a coffee machine in the library?

10:16 am  
Blogger Michel-Adrien said...

The cook from our cafeteria lends us a coffee maker for each session.

12:01 pm  
Blogger Wendy Reynolds said...

Great ideas! Free coffee may get them to come once, but excellent topics like these will get you repeat customers.

5:25 pm  

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