Register for the Spring LLNE/ABLL Meeting!

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.

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Helping My Neighborhood Library through the LRIP Program

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.Professional Headshot

*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.

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Enhancing Capabilities through the LRIP Program

Law booksBy 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.

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Education Committee News

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:

  1. General Introduction and Secondary Sources
  2. Caselaw Research
  3. Statutory Research
  4. Administrative Law Research
  5. Business and Transactional Material
  6. 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!

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Winners of the 2017 LRIP Scholarships

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!

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Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Government and Legislative News of Interest from New England States

Maureen Quinlan, GRC’s Maine state representative, would like LLNE members to know about the new digital library at the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, the brainchild of Director John Barden. Maureen writes: “The library staff members have been digitizing bills, laws, legislative reports, and tying them all together in a wonderful Legislative History page for each public law, including relevant links to the legislative record.  It has made researching legislative history so easy and transparent.”

Michelle Pearse, of the GRC’s “UELMA in Massachusetts” subcommittee, reports that a Massachusetts UELMA bill will be introduced during the current session. A bill number is not yet available; we will keep the membership posted as updated information becomes available. We thank the group membership for their hard work and persistence. The other members of the group are: Barbara Schneider, Joan Shear, Marnie Warner and Sue Zago.

AALL Resources

Many LLNE members attended the National Conference on the Copyright of State Legal Materials which took place on December 2, 2016 at Boston University School of Law.  For those who were unable to attend, the video recordings, handouts, and PowerPoint presentations from the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials are now on AALLNET. There is also an article on the conference on page 6 of the February 2017 edition of the CRIV Sheet, the newsletter of AALL’s Committee on Relations with Information Vendors.

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.


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Scholarships for LRIP


Photo credit Matthew Landers

By Jessica Almeida

All public librarians are encouraged to apply for a scholarship, sponsored by the LLNE Service Committee, to attend our chapter’s Legal Research Instruction Program.

The Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP) is a six week seminar for those interested in learning more about legal research and law librarianship. Each week, a different aspect of legal research is covered, everything from an overview of the U.S. legal system to finding transactional law documents.  The class will run on Tuesday evenings from March 14th – April 25th (with no class on April 18th).  This year, one week will be online and the remaining classes will be held from 5:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Suffolk Law in Boston.  For more information about the LRIP course, go to or contact Brian Flaherty at

The LLNE Service Committee is providing two scholarships to cover the cost of registration.  Applicants must be public librarians from the New England area. For more information and to apply, go to  Please send applications to Nicole Dyszlewski at by Thursday, March 2, 2017.  If you have questions, please contact the co-chairs of the Service Committee, Joshua LaPorte ( and Jessica Jones (

We encourage all LLNE members to share this scholarship opportunity with their local public libraries and any public librarians that would be interested in this excellent professional development opportunity.

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Legal Research Instruction Program – Call for Volunteers

Do you know a lot about legal research? Do you want to share your knowledge with others?

If the answer is yes, then consider volunteering to teach a section of the Legal Research Instruction Program. Currently LLNE needs volunteers to teach Statutes, Administrative Law, as well as Transactional & Business Law this spring. There is also a need for substitute instructors who can fill in at the last minute if needed.

The course is taught by different law librarians from the membership of LLNE, with a different librarian teaching each section. Brian Flaherty from New England Law oversees the program and is there to lend support for all of the sessions.

The course runs on six Tuesday evenings from March 14 to April 25, 2017 (no class on 4/18) from 5:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Suffolk Law in Boston.

Teaching legal research is a great way to contribute to the field of law librarianship while developing your teaching skills. Please consider volunteering your time for this great program. Contact Brian Flaherty for more information.​

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Exciting News about the LLNE Legal Research Instruction Program

By Ellen Phillips, LLNE Education Committee Co-Chair

Each Spring LLNE offers a six-week legal research instruction program for librarians in the New England area who would like to learn about law librarianship. For many years, this unique course has been offering instruction in various legal topics.

Beginning this year, one class of the Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP), the section on Case Law, will be taught online. The rest of the classes will be held in person on Tuesday evenings at Suffolk Law in Boston as it has been for the past two years.

Each topic is taught by academic law librarians who are members of LLNE and is overseen by Reference Librarian Brian Flaherty from New England Law.

Currently Brian, along with Susan Vaughn, a legal information librarian from Boston College Law Library, is working together to create a lesson plan to teach caselaw online.  All of the instructors volunteer to donate their time to participate in LRIP, and the students have the benefit of being taught by a variety of information professionals who are also experts in their field.

Class participants are varied in their background and career goals. The class traditionally has an even mix of public, academic, and law firm librarians, as well as the occasional pupil who is considering library school. This ensures a lively mix of skills and experience, but it was noted that the majority of the participants are from the greater Boston area. It is hoped that by offering a hybrid format, LLNE will be able to encourage librarians who live further away to consider attending.

This year’s Legal Instruction class will run from March 14th through April 25th. Classes will not be held on April 18th. A description the program is available at the LLNE website. The deadline to register is Friday, March 7th.

The Education Committee is excited about this change and welcomes any feedback. The members of the committee are Greg Ewing, Brian Flaherty, Bonnie Gallagher, Elliott Hibbler, Jessica Lundgren, Ellen Phillips, and Susan Vaughn.

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Save the Date!

The LLNE Spring Meeting will be held Friday, June 9th at Boston University Law School. It will be a joint meeting with ABLL. The topic will be Professional Development. More information will be coming.

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