This question was the subject of discussion at a much-anticipated session held during the CALI Conference last week. Professor James Milles of SUNY at Buffalo and I had begun a conversation on this question, which actually began as his assertion that they are doomed in a Facebook post he made during the AALS meeting this past January. Jim and I have been friends for nearly, if not more than, twenty years so I will refer to him by the familiar from now on. The room was packed with about 100 attendees as Jim set forth his argument, which is that in response to the current crises in legal education, academic law libraries will largely disappear or become something quite different in the next few years. My counter argument is that law libraries will indeed have to change in significant ways, but for the most part they will remain an important and necessary part of law schools. This post does not give the argument justice, so I strongly recommend you view the video of the session.
I expect Jim’s supporting paper will be published in the near future, so be on the lookout for it.