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Farewell and thanks to our Library Chair: Justice Macaulay

Supreme Court Library

The Library bids a warm farewell to the Hon. Justice Cameron Macaulay, who is stepping down from his role as (the inaugural) Chair of the Law Library of Victoria Committee. His Honour has infused the Library with energy and openness and been a tireless advocate for improved library services to Victorian judges and all members of the profession.

Almost five years ago, to mark the opening of the legal year in Bendigo, his Honour made a speech that included mention of a vision for the library: “Ultimately, the quality of the administration of justice in our State depends upon efficient access by judges and practitioners to up to date accurate legal information, whether that be the latest statutory provision; the latest case on point; the most useful legal commentary or article….We envisage a fully-functional Law Library of Victoria having the research capacity to capture and process that sort of material and make it available online to users.”

There are very many improvements to the service since that time – a few are listed here:

  • In 2013, the library operated out of one location: the Supreme Court Library. In 2018, the library operates out of five locations: the Supreme Court Library, the County Court, the Magistrates Court, VCAT and the Victorian Bar.
  • The landmark signing in October 2015 of single, consolidated purchase contracts between the Library, on behalf of all Victorian jurisdictions, and the major legal publishers settling the terms of purchase for the next five years. The new agreements were written on terms determined by the Library and contain transparent and consistent pricing mechanisms.  Having such agreements enables the Library to budget its expenditure in a way that had not previously been possible.
  • Over the past five years the proportion of expenditure on publication purchasing has increased from 40% of the budget to 60%, providing more legal research material to library users, made possible because of substantial operational efficiencies achieved through the amalgamation of previously disparate services.
  • The library manages the purchase of and access to hundreds of electronic resources with thousands of titles including legislation, case law, commentary, journals, dictionaries – covering the full range of topics for matters heard in the Victorian jurisdiction and beyond. Our Digital Library is our flagship product, with more than 1.2 million uses annually.

It has been an honour to work closely with the Chair to realise the vision for our Library, and I am grateful to him for his patience, tenacity, drive and commitment as we have worked to overcome (or go around) any hurdles and embrace our many opportunities.

Although we are sad to farewell Macaulay J, we are equally delighted to welcome the Hon. Justice Greg Garde AO RFD as Chair of both the Supreme Court Library and Law Library of Victoria Committees. Justice Garde has had longstanding involvement with the strategic direction of the Library through his role on the Interim Board. We are looking forward to 2019 with renewed energy and optimism: enlivened by a new Chair of such outstanding calibre.

Laurie Atkinson

Director Law Library of Victoria and Supreme Court Librarian