By Alan Kilpatrick
Did you know that the Law Society Library in Regina holds the unique distinction of being the first computerized law library in North America? According to a Leader Post article from February 20th, 1980, which featured an interview with the library’s director, Douglass MacEllven, the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library was the first in North America to have a computer system.
While the Law Society languished for much of the 1970s without any professional staff, the 1980s saw the Law Society Library boldly enter the computer age under MacEllven’s direction. With access to Quicklaw and a province-wide network of fax machines, the library was able to complete instantaneous research and send detailed materials to rural lawyers, “by telecopier using the telephone wire within a few hours.”
Douglass MacEllven served as director from 1977 to 1988. He oversaw the computerized modernization of the Law Society Library and was awarded honorary lifetime membership of the Law Society in 1988.