UELMA (Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act) is once again before the Massachusetts Legislature as H. 812, sponsored by Carmine L. Gentile and currently in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. LLNE member (and head of its Government Relations Committee’s Subcommittee working on the passage of UELMA in Massachusetts) Marnie Warner testified in favor of the legislation on May 2nd. You can read a copy of her testimony on the LLNE website.
We can use your help in two ways:
1) If you are a Massachusetts resident and your representative is on the Joint Judiciary Committee, please contact that person to encourage passage of H. 812. If your representative is not on the committee, please contact the committee chairs. (See Find My Legislator if you are not sure who your representative is.) Below are links to some examples of letters, but it is good to idea to personalize the message so that all messages are not identical. You might also want to link to or consult our LLNE UELMA one-pager.
§ LLAM Sample letter to Committee member
§ AALL Sample One-Pager for Chapters or Individual
§ AALL Sample Letter of Support to Committee Chairs (Individual)
§ Additional AALL UELMA Materials
2) Tell us your stories!
As part of our UELMA advocacy we are looking for stories of how lack of access to digital legal information has affected real people. Please help us by filling out the following survey: http://bit.ly/uelma-survey .
Thank you for caring about these issues and helping us make UELMA a reality in Massachusetts!
Dear LLNE Members,
On behalf of the Nominating Committee, we would like to present the slate of LLNE officers for 2017/2018:
Vice President/President Elect: Catherine Biondo, Senior Law Librarian: Legal Reference Services, Northeastern University School of Law Library
Treasurer: Rick Buckingham, Director of the Law Library and Information Resources & Associate Professor of Legal Research, Suffolk University Law School Library
Education Director: Ellen Phillips, Serials Supervisor, UNH School of Law Library
2017 LLNE Nominating Committee:
Mindy Kent, Chair
LLNE Summer get-together at AALL Austin
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday July 17th
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
217 Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78701http://coopersbbqaustin.com/
By the LLNE Service Committee
Because the theme for the spring meeting (register here!) is professional development, the service committee asks you to consider donating professional clothing, toiletries, or money to SolutionsWear. SolutionsWear provides interview-appropriate clothing and accessories to homeless and low-income men and women. Check out the list of especially needed items, as well as a complete list of the kind of donations SolutionsWear accepts. We will be collecting clothing and toiletry donations at the meeting. If you would like to make a monetary donation directly to SolutionsWear, you can do so here.
By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee
Massachusetts UELMA Bill
Thanks to the tireless advocacy of the UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee of the LLNE GRC, the UELMA bill is making its way through the Massachusetts legislature. H 812, sponsored by Rep. Carmine Gentile, was heard in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on May 2, 2017. The UELMA Subcommittee will keep the LLNE membership apprised of further action on its web page, where it has added an updated UELMA in Massachusetts one-pager.
Why is UELMA important? As the above-mentioned fact sheet notes: “enactment of UELMA will put a set of principles in place if a body in the future decides to publish in only online form or designate their online materials for use of the public as official.” Updates will be posted on this page and on the LLNE blog when available. AALL also has a wealth UELMA resources on its Government Relations site, which is constantly being updated. It is important for LLNE members who reside in Massachusetts to contact their legislators at critical times, so please check the website from time to time and follow through.
AALL Virtual Lobby Day
AALL’s Government Relations Office Director Emily Feltren reports that the AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day on April 26 enjoyed very active participation by AALL members who sent a flurry of emails to their legislators in support of its top priorities. The most popular action alert was in support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, followed by funding for the Legal Services Corporation and net neutrality.
If you were unable to participate in Lobby Day, there’s still time to act: visit AALL’s Action Center to learn more about these issues and to email your Members of Congress directly from the site.
AALL is focusing on these issues:
- Full funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, (IMLS)
- Full funding for the Legal Services Corporation
- Net Neutrality
- ECPA (Electronic Communication Privacy Act) Reform
- Keep Appointment authority for Register of Copyrights with the Librarian of Congress.
A word on the Copyright bill: The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 1695/S 1010) which makes the Register of Copyrights subject to Presidential Appointment and Senate confirmation passed in the House on April 26th with bipartisan support and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. Emily Feltren stated in an email that this bill is deemed a compromise because it does not go as far as the CODE Act (HR 890) and keeps the Copyright Office within the Library of Congress. Nevertheless, AALL opposes the bill because it would have a detrimental effect on interactions between the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office.
The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.
LLNE/ABLL Spring Meeting Registration is LIVE!
Join us on Friday, June 9th at the Boston University School of Law to discuss professional development and career paths. Please register as early as possible. For more information and a schedule for the day please go here.
IMPORTANT: If you need a parking permit, you must let us know by May 19th to ensure that you receive your permit.
By Emily Todd*
Legal literacy is an important area that can often be overlooked by public librarians, despite the fact that our patrons come to us regularly with questions involving a variety of legal issues. While I cannot interpret the law for my patrons or offer them legal advice, I can conduct a reference interview in which I can determine the nature of their legal information request. For example, do they need a lawyer, or do they simply want to find out what the law says (minus an interpretation)? Typically, my inclination is to err on the side of caution with these types of reference questions. Sometimes the offer of the number for the Lawyer Referral Service or a public law library where a qualified law librarian could assist them is the best answer. However, for patrons with legal research questions, I am missing an opportunity to serve my patrons and instruct them in information retrieval.
The Legal Research Instruction course is equipping me with the skills and knowledge to assist my patrons in tackling their legal reference questions. Like many people, the last time I learned about the legal system of the United States was in high school. During each session, the experienced teachers guide us through the ways our legal system works. We discuss leading our patrons to the information they seek, whether it is publicly accessible (e.g., on a government website) or a fee is required. This opportunity is invaluable to me professionally. Developing these skills will allow me to take my legal research training back to my neighborhood library, where I can put them to good use helping my patrons and perhaps teaching them some basics about the legal system along the way.
*Emily Todd is the Program and Community Outreach Librarian for the Fields Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library. She is a recipient of the 2017 LLNE Service Committee scholarship to attend the Legal Research Information Program.
By Brian Hodgdon*
If pressed, I imagine that most public librarians will admit to struggling with the unique challenges presented by patrons seeking legal help. These requests, like those of the medical variety, can leave us feeling less than helpful and often require a punt to the experts at the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries or the nearest legal aid program. While we know we’re doing the right thing by not diving into a subject area where errors or misinterpretations can have very real consequences for patrons, we don’t feel great about “getting to no”. That’s why I’m excited to be participating in the Legal Research Instruction Program this Spring, and grateful for the scholarship award. In the first half of the 6-week course we’ve been introduced to the finer points of case law and statutory research. We have also learned how to assemble legislative histories, covered administrative law, and honed our searching skills in Westlaw and Lexis. We’ve also attempted to break out of the databases that most of us in public libraries won’t have access to on the job, replicating our searches in Google Scholar and scouring government websites for the information we need. While enhancing our capabilities as legal researchers, we are also building the confidence to determine what we can and cannot provide to the public. Thanks to LLNE for offering this important program and encouraging public librarians to participate. A special thanks to Brian Flaherty for steering the ship and to the expert lecturers that have joined us so far.
*Brian Hodgdon is the Director of the Saugus Public Library and a recipient of the 2017 LLNE Service Committee Scholarship to attend the Legal Research Information Program.
By Brian Flaherty and Ellen Phillips, LLNE Education Committee
Continuing with a great tradition of education and service, LLNE is again running their “Legal Research Instruction Program,” helping New England librarians learn about legal research. For the past two years the class has run six weeks:
- General Introduction and Secondary Sources
- Caselaw Research
- Statutory Research
- Administrative Law Research
- Business and Transactional Material
- Putting it all together.
Traditionally, each week has been taught in person by a different volunteer from LLNE. This year, we decided to try putting one of the classes online: Susan Vaughn and Brian Flaherty put together an online class for Caselaw research.
This year’s class was slated to start on March 14th – but due to the snow storm the start date was moved to March 21st. There are 16 people enrolled, including some Simmons students, and folks from public, academic, and law firm libraries.
Many thanks to the folks who have generously volunteered time to make this great idea into a continuing reality. They are:
Coordinator: Brian Flaherty, Teachers (in the order of classes taught): Brian Flaherty from New England Law, Susan Vaughn from Boston College Law School, Jessica Pisano Jones from Social Law Library, AJ Blechner from Harvard University Law School, and Elliott Hibbler from Northeastern University Law School. Education Committee: Greg Ewing from Suffolk Law, Brian Flaherty from New England Law, Elliot Hibbler (Education Committee Co-Chair) from Northeastern University Law School, Bonnie Gallagher from Connecticut State Library, Jessica Lundgren from Maine State Law & Legislative Reference Library, Ellen Phillips (Education Committee Co-Chair) from University of New Hampshire School of Law, and Susan Vaughn from Boston College Law School. Also, huge thanks to Rick Buckingham and Suffolk University Law School Library for hosting this program for the third year in a row!
Photo by Brandon Mowinkel
By the LLNE Service Committee
The LLNE Service Committee, in conjunction with the Education Committee and Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP), is pleased to announce the public librarians awarded scholarships to attend LRIP this year. The Service Committee has awarded the scholarships to Emily Todd, Program and Community Outreach Librarian for the Fields Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library, and Brian Hodgdon, Director of the Saugus Public Library. Both candidates have extensive experience in public libraries as well as an immense interest in learning more about the legal system and how to respond more effectively to legal information requests. Please help us in congratulating Emily and Brian and look out for their upcoming blog posts on their experiences in the Legal Research Instruction Program!