Featured LLNE Library: Western New England University School of Law

What do you get when you mix one Southerner, two Midwesterners, and three New Englanders? A small-but-mighty library staff with a whole lotta love for our patrons. Western New England University School of Law Library consists of four librarians, two support staff, and the best student employees money can hire. We are located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball and Dr. Suess.

Nicole Belbin, Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources, has worked in various positions in the library since 2005 and was hired as the director this year. Her team includes Kathy Layer, User Experience Librarian (joined our staff in 2015); Diane Swanson, Circulation/Serials Specialist (2019); Christopher Collins, Research and Emerging Technologies Librarian, and Susan Wells, Temporary Librarian (2021); and our most recent addition, Jasmin Thornton, Circulation Assistant (February 2022).

We are extremely proud of how creative we are at meeting our patrons’ needs. Our can-do attitudes really paid off during the early days of COVID when the building was closed to everyone except for patrons studying for the bar exam. We developed a contactless curbside pick-up option utilizing our patio as the drop-off and pick-up location to get materials to our patrons and added extensively to our digital content.

We spent last summer repurposing spaces and making room for three new areas of the library: the Nourishment Nook, the Center for Academic and Bar Excellence, and an expanded Self-help Center. These new areas help us better meet our primary mission of supporting and enhancing the research and educational endeavors of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as assisting other individuals in finding needed legal information.

The Nourishment Nook is still under construction, but when complete it will have a prayer room, a lactation space (with a changing table), a meditation area, and a satellite location for WNEU’s Bear Necessities Market. The Market provides free supplies, such as food and personal hygiene items, to students with food insecurities.

The Center for Academic and Bar Excellence is a collaboration with the Assistant Dean of Academic and Bar Success to provide dedicated space for peer-to-peer tutoring and workshops.

We added to our Nolo collection and similar publications to expand our existing Self-help Center to support a partnership with the Center for Social Justice on their Legal Technology Kiosk initiative, where we served as the first site.

The last big change we made to our library space was purchasing five Pillar Booths for students to use for individual study spaces, Zoom meetings and interviews, and online classes.

We are excited to kick off the second year of our Intro to Law program, an outreach program where we partner with our Admissions department and the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School.

When we are not busy assisting patrons, we enjoy going to the beach, hitting the slopes, singing in a choir, watching IndyCar races, baking, tackling DIY home improvements, conducting genealogy research, or spending time with our families, which include toddlers, teenagers, grandkids, cats, dogs, fish, and a bird.

Fall Conference Reminder – Last Day for Discounted Hotel Rate

Today is the last day the discounted hotel registration is available! Please use this link to reserve a room.  Further details on the block of rooms are available on the Hotel & Travel page of the Conference Guide.

If you haven’t registered for the Fall Conference yet, you can register here! More information about the conference, Chasing the Law of Whaling Into the 21st Century, is available here.

Photo by Todd Cravens, on Unsplash


Room Reservation:

Hotel Travel Page:

Registration Page:

Conference LibGuide:

Meet the New Service Committee Chair Nicole Belbin

This fall, in addition to serving as the Chair of the Service Committee, Nicole starts her new position at Western New England University School of Law Library as the Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources and Professor of Law.

Nicole Belbin, Western New England University

Nicole grew up in rural Ohio, where her first library experiences were thanks to the local book mobile. She joined the United States Marine Corps after graduating high school. She has been with WNE for seventeen years, when she started in an entry-level staff position and fell in love with library work. Nicole received her MLIS from Drexel University, and most recently, her JD from WNE in 2020. She is passionate about the role libraries play in student success.

She has been a member of LLNE since 2010 and has enjoyed serving on the Service Committee for the last two years. She is looking forward to leading the Service Committee this year and continuing to bring amazing service opportunities to our members. In keeping with the theme of starting new things, Nicole has been training to run her first (and maybe last) marathon in October.

Welcome Message from the LLNE President

Hello, and welcome to another new year in LLNE!  

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the committee chairs for their work over the last year and welcome them as they do their work for this year. The new Communications Committee co-chairs are Emma Wood and Katharine Haldeman and the new Service Committee chair is Nicole Belbin. Thank you to all the new and returning committee chairs and members. 

Anna Lawless-Collins
Associate Director for Systems & Collection Services
Boston University School of Law
Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries

I’d also like to welcome new and returning board members. Welcome to Sara McMahon, our new Vice President, and congratulations to Christie Schauder on being reelected to the secretary position and Jessica Panella on being reelected to the education co-chair position. 

While the pandemic is far from over, it has been wonderful to see many of you in person over the last few months as we use the tools we have available to us to stay safe. A huge thank you to all who organized and participated in a successful spring meeting at Yale, and I’m looking forward to the fall meeting on October 7th at the WayPoint Center in New Bedford! Keep an eye out for more information from education co-chairs Jessica Panella and Maureen Quinlan. 

Finally, I’d like to encourage you all to think about what LLNE means to you as you go through your year. What do you value most about LLNE? Is it the community? Educational opportunities? The services we provide, like service committee projects and LRIP?  I most value our membership – your creativity, your dedication, and your supportiveness with each other. I hope that as we go through this next year together, no matter what changes this year brings, we can all consider what makes LLNE special and hold space for that uniqueness. 

Take care, 


Election Results: Congrats to Sara, Christie, and Jessica!

Sara McMahon, Christie Schauder, and Jessica Panella have been voted in by our membership to fill three open positions on the LLNE Executive Board. Thank you to everyone who voted. Read on for bios of Sara, Christie, and Jessica:

Sara McMahon (Vice President/President Elect, 2022-2023)

Sara Monalea McMahon is the Head Law Librarian at the Hampshire Law Library, located in Northampton, MA, which is part of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries. She has been a member of LLNE since 2017, serving on the Access to Justice Committee and most recently co-chair of the Communications Committee.

Christie Schauder (Secretary, 2022-2024)

Christie is a Research Librarian at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston. She has been in law libraries for 7 years now. She got her start in law librarianship at the Social Law Library while still attending Simmons for grad school. Christie has found the community to be incredibly welcoming and is excited for another term on the Board.

Jessica Panella (Education Co-Chair, 2022-2024)

Jessica is the Head of Access and Administrative Services at the University of Connecticut School of Law Library. She has worked in academic law libraries for more than fifteen years in the areas of patron services and library administration. Jessica received her BA from UConn and MLIS from Drexel University. Her areas of interest and expertise are design thinking, competitive intelligence, library measures/metrics, as well as financial and knowledge management.

Position Opening – MA Trial Court, Circuit Law Librarian – Southeast


The Trial Court is committed to: 

  • Fair and impartial administration of justice;
  • Protection of constitutional and statutory rights and liberties;
  • Equal access to justice for all in a safe and dignified environment with policies and practices that strengthen and support diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Efficient, effective, and accountable resolution of disputes;
  • Prompt and courteous service to the public by committed and dedicated professionals utilizing best practices in a manner that inspires public trust and confidence.

The Massachusetts Trial Court is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and provides equal opportunity in state employment to all persons. No person shall be denied equal access because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, pregnancy, military or veteran status, physical/mental disability; or genetic information. If you need a reasonable accommodation, or have any questions or concerns about being afforded fair and equal treatment, please contact the HR Benefits Team at

Circuit Law Librarian – Southeast

  • 494700
  • Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
  • Law Libraries
  • Administrative
  • Full-time
  • Closing at: Aug 1 2022 at 23:45 EDT

Title: Circuit Law Librarian – Southeast

Pay Grade: Grade 17

Starting Pay: $73,753.54 

Departmental Mission Statement: The Court Services and Law Libraries Department is responsible for providing key court services to support the administration of justice and advance access to justice in the Trial Court. These services include the Court Service Centers, the Trial Court Law Libraries, and the Judicial Response System.


The Trial Court Law Library System provides timely, efficient access to current and historical law-related information in an impartial and respectful manner to anyone in need of legal information.



Please note that the Circuit Law Librarian – Southeast will be based out of the Plymouth Law Library and will cover and support the law library services in Barnstable, Bristol, Norfolk and Plymouth Counties, and will require travel.

This position is designated as a union position and is covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement with O.P.E.I.U., Local 6.

Position Summary: Working within the Trial Court Law Libraries of the Department of Court Services, the Circuit Law Librarian Performs professional library duties over a defined geographic area in the following areas:

  • legal research and reference, cataloging, inter­library loan, bibliographic services and acquisitions;
  • assists Head Law Librarians in library operation; and may perform specific functions for the Trial Court Law Library system such invoice processing, collection development and maintaining a federal depository collection; performs related work as required.
  • Employees are appointed at the entry level and are eligible for reclassification to the higher grade within this series consistent with the requirements in the job description.
  • The position title reverts to the entry level of this series when there is a vacancy.

    Supervision Received: 
    Work is performed primarily under the direction of the Director of Support Services and Manager of Law Libraries, or their designee, and is evaluated for professional soundness and conformity to policy.

Duties: Circuit Law Librarian

  • Provides reference and information services to the clientele by responding to questions either in person or by telephone, locating and retrieving materials and assisting in legal research, by developing a comprehensive knowledge of legal bibliography and general reference sources.
  • Utilizes full knowledge of electronic databases and interlibrary sources, both legal and non-legal, to assist clientele in retrieving information needed.
  • Instructs library users in the use of library materials and equipment.
  • Adapts professional principles of cataloging, classification and indexing to the various components of the library’s collection.
  • Manages and maintains automated cataloging and classification through a national database.
  • Works with other librarians on system-wide projects.
  • Performs necessary tasks for assuring security, proper protection, care and presentation of library’ materials, and presentation of library’ materials.
  • In the absence of the Head Law Librarian, maintains the day-to-day library operations; and
  • Performs related duties as required.

Job Competencies: All applicants must be able, through the interview process, to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following areas:
Ethics and Values: Communicates and demonstrates the ethics and values of the Trial Court and Trial Court Law Libraries as demonstrated in the American Association of Law Libraries.
Mission: Understands, upholds, and communicates the missions of the Trial Court and the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Applied Knowledge: Demonstrates the core competencies and specialized competencies in the areas of library management; reference, research and client services; information technology; collection development, cataloging and teaching as outlined in the AALL Competencies of Law Librarianship.
Customer Service: Conducts oneself in a courteous and professional manner towards both Trial Court employees and the public whether in person, on the telephone or in an electronic environment.
Collaboration: Works with others cooperatively, including the courts, library and legal organizations and other agencies, demonstrating a willingness to be a team player, contributing to a work environment that focuses on shared departmental goals and maintaining effective working relationships.
Commitment to Diversity: Promotes an environment of diversity through understanding, respect, and positive communication with persons of varied racial, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Conducts oneself in a courteous and professional manner towards everyone using the services of the Trial Court Law Libraries.
Continuous Learning: Demonstrates a commitment to continuously improving himself or herself through professional development and actively pursues continuing education.

Minimum Requirements: These are the minimum requirements necessary to apply for a position of Circuit Law Librarian:

  • Master’s Degree in Library Science from an accredited library school and 1 full year of full time experience in a professional capacity in a law library;
  • Knowledge of theory, principles and practices of library science and law library administration, including current methods and procedures in such areas as collection development, cataloging and legal research and reference;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to deal effectively and respectfully with people;
  • Ability to work with judges, attorneys, court personnel;
  • Ability to use computer applications such as MS Office spreadsheets, text editing and publisher programs;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively in both oral and written form;
  • Ability to reach with hands and arms, bend, crouch, lift materials weighing up to 30 pounds, and climb stairs;
  • Ability to travel within the Commonwealth and work at other Trial Court Law Library locations when necessary.

    Preferred Qualifications: MLS, MLIS, or JD and some library and legal research experience

To Apply –

LLNE-SNELLA Members Support the Books-to-Prison Project

Thanks to all who donated at the LLNE-SNELLA Spring 2022 meeting! The LLNE Service Committee partnered with the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Books-to-Prison Project, an initiative spearheaded by Julian Aiken, Yale Law Library’s Assistant Director for Access and Faculty Services. Donations of new or like-new paperbacks (fiction or popular non-fiction) as well as recent law books help the project establish libraries in jails and prisons across Connecticut. The Project has also provided books to domestic violence shelters and will be working to expand outreach to additional local community programs.

Members had the opportunity to donate books to the Books-to-Prison Project either during the 2022 LLNE-SNELLA Spring Meeting at Yale Law School, by mail if they could not attend the meeting, or through  donating e-gift vouchers to a local Connecticut bookstore. Through the generosity of LLNE-SNELLA members, the Books-to-Prison Project has so far received a total of 34 books and $200 in gift vouchers!

It’s never too late to make a donation! If you’d like to donate books to the Project, they can be mailed to:

Julian Aiken

Yale Law Library

127 Wall Street, New Haven, 06511

Or you can purchase an electronic gift card through RJ Julia Independent Booksellers and send it to  

If you have any questions, please contact co-chairs, Jessica Almeida at and Kaitlin Connolly at

Thank you all again for supporting this cause!

The Service Committee

Interview with Spring Meeting Panelist Yasmin Sokkar Harker

We have one more panelist to feature before the Spring Meeting tomorrow. Yasmin Sokkar Harker is Student Liaison Librarian and Law Library Professor at CUNY Law. Her research interests include legal research pedagogy, critical information literacy, legal research and social justice, and information access issues. Read below for a more about Yasmin:

1.       Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I participate I am in a book club that focuses on post apocalyptic science fiction. 

2.       Do you have any pets?
Two cats.

3.       What is your favorite hobby? Reading fantasy and science fiction, trying and failing to become fluent in a second language.

4. What do you think is one of the most important aspects of critical law librarianship? How much you can broaden your own critical perspective on legal information by learning from others and having intellectual humility.

For more information about speakers, take a look at this Libguide for the Critical Law Librarianship-LLNE / SNELLA Spring 2022 Meeting!