Hello and Welcome from the New LLNE President!

Good morning! 

As the new LLNE president I wanted to take a moment and welcome everyone to this new membership year. In many ways, this year seems dishearteningly similar to last year, with all the uncertainty, anxiety, and apprehension about how the pandemic might affect our personal and professional lives. Our immediate past president, Nicole Dyszlewski, along with LLNE volunteers on and off the Executive Board, dedicated enormous quantities of time and energy to provide opportunities for us to continue to learn, engage with each other, and enjoy each other’s company — even without the luxury of face-to-face gatherings. Special thanks to all of you as well as to the following outgoing members of the Executive Board:

  • Bob de Fabrizio, outgoing past president, Manager of Law Libraries, MA Trial Courts
  • Ellen Frenzen, outgoing co-chair of the Communications Committee, Assistant Dean for Administration at Boston University Law School         
  • Anne McDonald, outgoing co-chair of the Government Relations Committee, Law Library Coordinator, Rhode Island Dept. of the Attorney General
  • AnnaKatherine Wherren: outgoing chair of Scholarships Committee, Legal Research Librarian, Suffolk University Law School

I’d also like to welcome the incoming board members:

  • Catherine Biondo, co-chair of the Government Relations Committee, Research Librarian, Harvard Law Library
  • Kaitlin Connolly, co-chair of the Service Committee, Reference Librarian, State Library of Massachusetts
  • Josh LaPorte, vice president, president-elect, Head of Access Services, Boston University Law Library
  • Anne Rajotte, chair of the Access to Justice Committee, Head of Reference Services, University of Connecticut Law Library
  • Dawn Smith, chair of the Scholarships Committee, Head of Acquisitions, Yale Law School

LLNE means different things to each of us. For the 2012 version of me, membership simply meant seasonal meetings and the potential for engaging more with the LLNE community – once my infant and toddler daughters got a little older. In 2021, it means working with and learning from a group of awesome people from across New England. It’s also meant drawing cartoon llamas with other LLNE families and getting a glimpse of what executive board members’ canine companions think of them. Whatever this year brings, I hope we are able to find ways to continue to connect with each other. 

Take care.

Mike

Ending My Year of Service

By Nicole P. Dyszlewski, Immediate Past President as of 7/1

Dear LLNE Members,

Monday was leadership training at AALL for new SIS and chapter leaders and I was asked to speak about LLNE’s diversity and inclusion activities over the past year or so. It is with great pride that I talked about the statements we have written or signed, the executive board retreat focused on antiracism, the educational content we have produced, the money we raised, the awareness we raised, and the ongoing work of the taskforce that was formed. Although it was an exciting discussion and fun to talk about all of the amazing things we have done, I was quick to point out that this was not just the work of our organization’s leaders, but the work of our organization’s members.

As I end my year of service as President of this organization, I want to express my gratitude to all of the members who served in some way. Whether you volunteered to be on a committee, or chair a task force, or be an officer, or give money to a worthy cause, or attend an event, or speak at a panel, or decorate a bag for Meals on Wheels, your work was important and I am grateful. I am especially grateful to those who are ending their terms as officers or committee chairs or committee members. Thank you for your service to our organization. You will be missed, but the opportunities for volunteerism are always here if you wish to re-engage with the work.

This has been a difficult year personally and professionally for many. Many of us have suffered losses and tremendous change. But through it all, LLNE members continued to give and serve. Beyond work on diversity initiatives, we have had online meetings, a large online successful LRIP class, service projects, increased engagement on our blog and listserv, interviews with our pets, maintenance on our website, continued work on UELMA advocacy, the creation of a new archives policy, and monthly activities organized by our Fun Ambassador. LLNE is more active now than ever. We are a community working together, in spite of the demands on our time, our burnout, and fatigue.

In closing, a note about grace. We might not have gotten done all the things we wanted to in our jobs or house projects or committee service this year. And that is ok. At the same leadership training on Monday, I heard Jenny Silbiger and Taryn Marks both speak about giving yourself grace in the moments when you haven’t gotten everything done you set out to get done. And so that is the message I want to close with. Working intentionally toward the mission of this organization and giving grace to ourselves and those around us has been critical in this last year. And it needs to be critical going forward, as well. I have learned not just from what I have gotten done, but what I have failed to get done this year. I hope that I am able to finish out my term as Immediate Past President with this same grace.

Trip to Chernobyl – Thursday, July 15 at 7pm

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A trip to Chernobyl, Thursday July 15th at 7pm via Zoom.

Join us on Thursday, July 15 at 7pm for another LLNE sponsored event! We’ll be taking a Trip to Chernobyl, where our guide Olena will take us on an interactive virtual tour of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Registration is *free*, just visit [tinyurl.com/kyfufd3m]tinyurl.com/kyfufd3m.

Service Committee Spring 2021 Project Wrap-Up

This Spring, the committee organized three projects to coincide with the LLNE FUNtivities and Spring Virtual Meeting. 

NEADS Prison Pups posing for a picture.

Our first project was raising money for NEADS Prison Pup Program.  NEADS is an organization that provides service dogs to veterans, people with physical disabilities, individuals with autism, and even assistance dogs that work in hospitals and courthouses.  90-95% of NEADS puppies are trained in correctional institutions in New England through their Prison Pup Program.  Through the generosity of our members, we have raised over $1,300.  If you would like to give to this wonderful organization, please visit  https://support.neads.org/llne.

Child posing with a card made for Meals on Wheels.

Our second project was creating cards and decorated lunch bags for Meals on Wheels locations throughout New England.  The committee is happy to report that members have pledged to create over 300 cards and bags.  Please remember to take a photo of your creations and use the #LLNEFuntivities on Twitter.  The sign-up form is now closed, but if you are interested in contributing to this project, please email Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu

Coded Bias Activist Toolkit poster.

Our last project highlighted an informational resource to compliment the Coded Bias screening and panel on Friday, June 11th.  The committee showcased the filmmaker’s activist toolkit, containing ways to get involved in the algorithmic justice movement.  The committee is encouraging members to sign the Universal Declaration of Data Rights as Human Rights, which was developed by the Coded Bias team, if you are interested in further supporting this cause. Upon signature, your name and zip code are sent to US elected officials.  For more information, go to https://llne.org/interested-in-algorithmic-justice-here-are-ways-llne-members-can-help/.

If you are interested in joining the Service Committee or have an idea for a project, please contact Jessica Almeida at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu.

Interested in algorithmic justice? Here are ways LLNE members can help!

Don’t forget to register for the June 11th (this Friday!) screening and discussion of the acclaimed documentary Coded Bias. The event starts at 7pm EST: tinyurl.com/xr5dm9wf. The filmmaker, Shalini Kantayya, has also compiled an activist toolkit for those interested in becoming advocates for “algorithmic justice.” If any LLNE members would like to get involved, page 24 of the toolkit lists recommended organizations to which you can subscribe and make donations.

Another way to get involved is by signing the Universal Declaration of Data Rights as Human Rights, which was developed by the Coded Bias team. Upon signature, your name and zip code are sent to US elected officials. The committee is encouraging members to sign the declaration if they are interested in further supporting this cause.

We hope to see you on Friday!

LLNE Service Committee

Coded Bias Screening and Discussion

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We have another event coming your way this week! After the 2021 LLNE Virtual Spring Meeting, join us THIS Friday June 11 at 7pm EST for a screening and discussion of the documentary Coded Bias. See below for more information and to register.

Coded Bias Screening and Discussion
Friday, June 11th at 7pm ET/ 6pm CT/ 5pm MT/ 4pm PT

CODED BIAS explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her journey to push for the first-ever legislation in the U.S. to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all. Join us for a screening of this acclaimed documentary followed by a discussion featuring:

  • Nicole Dyszlewski (moderator), Head of Reference, Instruction, & Engagement, Roger Williams University School of Law
  • Sarah Lamdan, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law
  • Susan Nevelow Mart, Professor and Director of the Law Library, University of Colorado Law School

To register visit: tinyurl.com/xr5dm9wf

Sponsored by the Legal Information Services to the Public Special Interest Section, the Law Librarians of New England, and the Research Crits Caucus.

Events Scheduled in June by Asian American Law Librarians Caucus

This month, the LLNE Executive Board signed onto the Asian American Law Librarians Caucus Statement on Anti-Asian Incidents. We encourage you to review the statement and refer to the valuable resources it links to. The Caucus is now hosting a series of guest speakers, live music, movie watch parties, and a book discussion throughout the month of June. We hope you find an opportunity to participate in any number of these events. Please see the schedule below. 

Wednesday, June 2

12:00-1:00 PM Central

Anti-Asian Violence Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: New Episode in the Long History of Anti-Asian Violence in the United States and Educational Implications. Presentation byProf. Sohyun An

Dr. Sohyun An, Associate Professor at Kennesaw State University, researches social studies education. In the NBC News article, “Illinois House passes bill mandating Asian American history in schools,” Dr. An cautions, “if we don’t teach [Asian-American history] or teach it in a misrepresented way it can lead to violence” (April 15, 2021). Bio/presentation description and article attached.

Register for Prof. An’s presentation here

Friday, June 4

12:00-1:00 PM Central

Donut King Watch Party! (We’ll gather via Zoom, then each watch the film on our own computers, but with Google Jamboard open so that we can watch “together” and post sticky notes to communicate during the screening. Film is free on PBS.)

Genre: Documentary

Film Duration: approx. 1 hour 30 minutes (We will watch the first hour together)

Ted’s story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. It’s the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million-dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet teaching them the ways of the donut business. By 1979 he was living the American Dream. But, in life, great rise can come with great falls. (https://www.donutkingmovie.com/synopsis/)

Register for Donut King watch party here 

Thursday, June 10

2:00-3:00 PM Central

Asian American Studies High School Course Curriculum, Presentation by Albert Chan

Niles North (Skokie, Illinois) High School teacher Albert Chan teaches one of the only  Asian American studies high school courses in the United States. He will describe his course curriculum. In the article, “TEAACH Act could make Illinois first state to mandate teaching of Asian American history in public schools,” he observes, “the lack of Asian American representation in school courses leads non-Asian students to fall back on stereotypes about their Asian and Asian American peers.” (The Daily Northwestern, April 20, 2021). Article attached.

Register for Albert Chan’s presentation here

Wednesday, June 16

2:00-3:00 PM Central

Simon Tam of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band, will speak about his Journey to the U.S. Supreme Court, in Matal v. TamWith live music featuring Simon and The Slants’s guitarist, Joe X. Jiang!

Simon Tam is best known as the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band. He helped expand civil liberties for minorities by winning a unanimous victory at the Supreme Court of the United States for a landmark case, Matal v. Tam, in 2017. He also leads The Slants Foundation, a nonprofit that supports arts and activism projects for underrepresented communities.

Joe X. Jiang is a filmmaker and musician who has called Portland home for nearly ten years. His movies, which range from intimate documentaries to artistic narratives, have been featured at film and art festivals around the world. He plays guitar for The Slants as well as other groups based in Portland, OR.

Register for Simon’s talk & live music here

Thursday, June 24

2:00-3:00 PM Central

Kumu Hina – Amazon Watch Party! (Requires each participant to rent the movie on Amazon for $3.99)

Official website, with trailer

Genre: Documentary

Film duration: 1 hour 17 minutes (We will watch the first hour together)

KUMU HINA is a powerful film about the struggle to maintain Pacific Islander culture and values within the Westernized society of modern day Hawaiʻi. It is told through the lens of an extraordinary Native Hawaiian who is both a proud and confident māhū, or transgender woman, and an honored and respected kumu, or teacher, cultural practitioner, and community leader.

Amazon Prime membership not required.

Register for Kumu Hina watch party here


Wednesday, June 30

2:00-3:00 PM Central


AAPI Book Discussion – Choose your favorite (or any) AAPI book and come prepared to “show and tell” us about it!

Some suggested titles are on these documents:

·  Asian Pacific American Resources (pages 7-8)

·  Books by/about Asian American lawyers/judges

·  Books by/about Asian American politicians, civil rights activists, non-legal scholars

Register for AAPI book discussion here

VOTE NOW! For the 2021-2022 LLNE officer candidates

The 2021-2022 slate of LLNE officer candidates has been announced and now is your opportunity to vote. Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PHZYW9Zto cast your anonymous vote. The poll will close on Friday, June 4th at 5:00 pm.

VP/President-Elect: Josh LaPorte, Head of Circulation, Boston University, Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries
Treasurer: Rachel Weiss, Research Librarian, Nixon Peabody
Education Director: Maureen Quinlan, Reference & Gov Doc Law Librarian, University of Maine School of Law

New ‘Funtivity’! Coffee Masterclass

Calling all caffeine lovers! For our next free ‘funtivity’ we’re heading to Mexico for a Coffee Master Class. Join us on Tuesday, June 1st at 9am to learn about the best processes for brewing a great cup of coffee and a whole latte of other facts. To register and obtain the zoom meeting details, visit [tinyurl.com/zercsbps]tinyurl.com/zercsbps and for more information on this virtual experience see https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/1655017 .

“Law Librarians as Access to Justice Allies”

LLNE President Nicole Dyszlewski and Service Committee chair Jessica Almeida recently published an article titled, “Law Librarians as Access to Justice Allies” in Public Services Quarterly.  The article was part of the “Special Libraries, Special Challenges” series and discusses the how law and public librarians can be allies in working toward shrinking the access to justice gap.  It also celebrates the work of a great number of LLNE leaders such as Catherine Biondo, Mike VanderHeijden, Josh Laporte, Jessica Jones, and all the members that have served on the Access to Justice and Service Committees.

The article begins by looking at the history of the LLNE Service and Access to Justice Committees, including the various service projects that have been organized over the past twenty years.  One of the most successful service projects was the Legal Book Drive, which led to the creation of LLNE Legal Link.  The Legal Link website has become a tool for law librarians to share their knowledge with public librarians and self-represented litigants, through the use of best practices and resource documents. 

The article continues by discussing the committees’ work in outreach, specifically presentations at regional public library conferences that allow law librarians and public librarians to connect over access to justice issues.  Also mentioned is the creation of the LLNE A2J Twitter account that promotes Legal Link documents as well as the programs and resources of other legal organizations such as court libraries and bar associations.

Finally, the authors explore the areas that public librarians are most concerned about.  They discuss the unauthorized practice of law, what it is, and how and when to say no to a question that veers into legal advice territory.  The article ends with a section on how to write a policy that explains legal information vs. legal advice.  This policy can be used by public library staff to help patrons understand the legal questions public librarians can and can’t answer.  For more information on the article, please reach out to Nicole Dyszlewski at ndyszlewski@rwu.edu or Jessica Almeida at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu