Q&A: How Many Law School Faculty Members Have Kindles

Lyonette Louis-Jacques of the D’Angelo Law Library at the University of Chicago has conducted a quick, informal, but very interesting survey asking law school librarians how many of their faculty members use Kindles. As often happens with such surveys, the results or responses reveal more than was originally intended, thus creating interest among readers well beyond the range of the original audience. For this reason I have contacted Lyonette and requested her permission, which she has granted, to republish her questions and responses on this blawg for the benefit of our readers. David Badertscher

I asked on Twitter, teknoids and the CSSIS-L lists. I got 21 responses. 6 responders indicated they own Kindles.

9 libraries reported no faculty with Kindles.

11 libraries reported a few faculty with Kindles. From some of the numbers, I’m guessing closer to 1-2 than 3-4 faculty with Kindles.

1 library reported 5 faculty with Kindles.

That’s it. So, the results of this very informal survey show that Kindle use hasn’t really taken off in law schools yet.

Some comments from responders:

“Faculty have little or no interest in the Kindle” (but that was countered by “a good amount of interest”)

“I’m guessing very few students have Kindles”
“I haven’t seen that many students using the Kindle”
“Students don’t engage in recreational reading”

“Our dean got one because our parent university gave one to all the deans to introduce the concept [of the Kindle]”

“I use [the Kindle] strictly for personal fun”

“We don’t use [the Kindle] in class”

“I like holding the novel in my hands”

“[The Kindle] would be great for a lawyer on a cross-country trip…load law review articles, cases, memos, etc.”

And the responder with 5 faculty with Kindles said:

“We bought 5 Kindles and 5 Sony Readers for the library and loaded them with a variety of books. The Kindles are pretty popular, mostly with faculty, but increasingly with students.
The Sonys not so much…We ordered another 5 Kindles…”

P.S. I spoke to some faculty about the Kindle and their comments include:

footnotes hard to get to
problems with graphics, formulas, equations
“inconsistent pagination”

major legal publishers need to make their books available on the Kindle
the “mediated book” – reading books via the screen is the future
potential for advertising in Kindle ebooks
And finally, from the Twitter stream – faculty self-publishing ecasebooks via the Kindle.
I’ve been thinking. . . . .

I have a Kindle and love it but I don’t use the Kindle for anything remotely related to academia.

I have a Facebook page and love it. A lot of law students, law faculty, and law librarians are my facebook friends but our library’s facebook page didn’t really create any excitement so it does not get the level of attention I give my personal page.

I love these tools but I don’t feel the need to apply them to my work. This might be a failing on my part, it might demonstrate which age cohort I belong to, it might demonstrate a healthy work-life separation, or maybe a little bit of all of the above.

…and Lyonette’s response to this comment:

That’s fine. It’s okay to have fun with technology – use it just for fun. I’m guessing the few faculty in law schools that own Kindles probably use them mainly for recreational and not educational purposes.

I’m a bit on a mission to see how emerging technologies can be used in library and law school settings, so I always have that lens.

I somehow have never tried to connect my TV, video, DVD, and Wii to work-related purposes though…:-) Oh, except for suggesting movies that I’ve seen or want to see for our law library’s DVD collection…:-)

Some technologies never take off. We’ll see about the Kindle or e-book readers generally in terms of law library and law school applications.

I use my Facebook page for work- and play-related purposes. I got on Facebook to see if there are law library applications,
and then found the fun apps…:-)
My own comment from the courts:

I have not yet noticed judges using Kindles but we have at least one court officer who is an avid Kindle “reader”.

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