The LLNE Service/A2J Committee’s Work of Public Librarian Outreach in New England Continues

On Sunday, October 28th, members of the LLNE A2J Committee and the LLNE Service Committee presented at the New England Library Association Conference (NELA) in Warwick, RI.  The presentation titled “Law, Technology, and Access to Justice” discussed the access to justice gap in both New England and the United States and how technology is being developed to help bridge the gap.  The presenters showcased a variety of current and upcoming technologies that are focused on helping self-represented litigants prepare for court, such as RePresent, Objection! Your Honor, and the Odyssey Guide and File.  The session also tackled ethical concerns and the unauthorized practice of law with presenters role-playing common legal reference scenarios to show setting boundaries with patrons.  Finally, and most importantly, the presenters discussed LLNE’s Legal Link resource for providing legal reference and referrals. The session was well-received and the attendees were engaged with the material. The slides from the session have been uploaded and shared on the NELA website.  

Join the LLNE Service Committee on Friday, November 16th for a Transcription Party!

From 1-4pm, we will be at the Roger Williams University Providence Campus (1 Empire Street, Providence) transcribing historical documents from the Rhode Island State Archives’s Suffrage Association collection.  Afterwards, come enjoy drinks and appetizers (and the company of fellow law librarians) around the corner at Rosalina’s (50 Aborn Street, Providence).

No experience with transcription necessary! None of us have ever hosted nor attended a transcription party before so don’t worry if you are unsure about transcription!  Come ready to have fun and help out a great organization!

Please RSVP to Jessica Almeida at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu or 508-985-1194 by November 9th .

Computers will be available on site or you are welcome to bring your own.  Parking is available on the street or at the Providence Civic Center Garage located on Washington Street.

*Sponsored by Lexis and LLNE*

Empowered by the Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP)

By Alvin Ealy*

There are some questions that a public librarian will not answer because they fall under the purview of a specialized profession.  We don’t want to do harm to our patrons nor do we want to be liable for questions about health, medicine, or taxes.  You can also add legal questions to this list, but what I learned at LRIP is that there is a world of difference between legal advice and questions about the law.   Information about the law is much more readily available than I realized.  It was useful and instructive to learn how to use Lexis and Westlaw, but most public libraries do not have the funding for such resources.  But LRIP taught me how to find useful legal information via Google as well as state and federal government websites.  The lessons learned in this course certainly made me feel empowered.   Before LRIP, I would refer all legal questions down the road to the Plymouth Law Library.  After LRIP, I feel better prepared to help patrons with questions about the law.

*Alvin Ealy is the Head of Adult Services/Reference at the Kingston Public Library in Kingston, MA and a recipient of the 2018 LLNE Service Committee Scholarship to attend the Legal Research Information Program.

Service Committee Drive for Veterans Inc.: Wrap-up

By Jessica Almeida

For this year’s Spring service project, the Service Committee organized a drive for Veterans Inc.  Helping homeless veterans since 1990, Veterans Inc. provides housing, medical, and employment assistance to veterans in the New England area.  Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, their philosophy is “They were there when we needed them.  We must be there now that they need us.”  Veterans Inc. provides 24/7 support to veterans and their families with emergency, transitional, and long-term housing, career counseling and training, as well as support groups and substance abuse treatment programs.  For more information on Veterans Inc., visit http://www.veteransinc.org/.

To help them supply essentials to veterans in need, the Service Committee asked LLNE members to donate gift cards that provide food, clothes, and medicine.  The committee is pleased to report that $555 in gift cards was contributed by LLNE members.  Thank you to everyone for their generous donations.

Thank you to the members of the LLNE Service Committee for organizing the Veterans Inc. Drive.  The Service Committee is always looking for more volunteers!  If interested, go to https://llne.org/committees/service/.

The Legal Research Instruction Program and Continuing a Commitment to Equity and Justice

By Heather Diaz*

Beyond supporting patrons’ research and learning interests, I would like to extend the reach of what we can do at the library in terms of patrons’ access to justice. Perhaps because of our proximity to the Trial Court Library, reference services have comprised of referring folks to the expertise of the law librarians there. I felt limited by my own threadbare understanding of the legal system and intimidated by the process of reading the law. In these regards, I certainly related to patrons dealing with complex, unfamiliar, or overwhelming legal issues. The Legal Research Instruction Program exposed me not only to open-web legal resources that I can share, both with patrons and on our library’s website, but also to the types of research methodologies that attorneys, paralegals, and law librarians use. This type of insight strengthens my own research process, which helps me to interview patrons better and prepare them for further research at the Trial Court Library. Furthermore, I’m excited to connect to the law librarians there, build a stronger professional relationship between our two institutions, and better facilitate community access to legal information. Considering the systemic inequalities that play out through the courts, the laws, and law enforcement, I consider this work to be profoundly important for our commitment to equity and justice. It was a great, eye-opening experience to demystify the legal research process!

*Heather Diaz is a reference librarian at Forbes Library in Northampton and a recipient of the 2018 LLNE Service Committee Scholarship to attend the Legal Research Information Program.

Spring Service Committee Project: Veterans Inc.

By Jessica Almeida

In conjunction with this year’s Spring meeting, the Service Committee is partnering with Veterans Inc., an organization that has assisted homeless veterans since 1990.  It began by providing housing to veterans in the Worcester, Massachusetts area but expanded its services to include employment and healthcare assistance for veterans and their families throughout the New England area.  

Veteran’s Inc. is asking for gift cards to aid veterans in need of food, clothing, and medicine.  Gift cards of any domination from Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, or Amazon would be truly appreciated.  There are two ways to give:

  1. If you’re attending the June 8th, Spring meeting at Social Law Library, purchase a gift card and drop it off at the Service Committee table before you leave for the day.
  2. Not planning to attend the meeting?  No problem.  Send a gift card electronically to Service Committee chair, Jessica Almeida, at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu.  Or have the company ship the gift card to:*

Jessica Almeida
UMass Law Library
333 Faunce Corner Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747

*Please email Jessica so she can be on the look out for your generous donation.

Here are some quick links to make donating even easier:

 Thank you, in advance, for supporting our Veterans!

 The Service Committee is always looking for new volunteers!  If you are interested in helping us create and promote new service projects, please email Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu.

LLNE Officers Nominated for 2018-2019

Vice President/President Elect:

Robert DeFabrizio

Manager of Library Services

Goulston & Storrs PC

Secretary:

Nicole P. Dyszlewski

Research/Access Services Librarian

Roger Williams University School of Law Library

Education Directors:

Danitta Wong (1 year term)

Metadata and Serials Specialist

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP.

Shira Megerman (2 year term)

Senior Legal Information Librarian

Boston University School of Law

Submitted by the Nominations Committee:

Elaine Apostola, chair

Deputy Director

Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library

Nuchine Nobari

Director of Library Services

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Tanya M. Johnson

Reference Librarian

University of Connecticut School of Law Library

Upcoming SNELLA Access to Justice Conference

By Mike VanderHeijden

For those of you interested in Access to Justice, SNELLA’s Spring Meeting is focused on A2J issues in Connecticut. Please see details, below.

The Southern New England Law Libraries Association (SNELLA) will host our Spring Meeting at UCONN Law’s campus on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. The day promises to be an great day of practical information about legal services to the public in Connecticut. If you aren’t a member and are interested in joining or you have any questions you talk to me or you can fill out the form here.

 

A2J: Law Libraries and Service to the Public

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 | 9:30-2:30

UConn Law School, Starr Reading Room, 55 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105

Register here by May 1, 2018

$25 for Members | $30 for Non-Members

Schedule:

9:30-10:15: Registration, Continental Breakfast, & Welcoming Remarks

10:15-11:15: A2J in the Courts: Connecticut Court Service Centers. Presenters, Desiree Biggs, manager Court Service Center in Hartford & Alexandra Gillett, Program Manager for the Court Service Center Program.

11:15: Break

11:30-12:30: A2J Education: Law libraries and public librarians. Presenters, Anne Rajotte, Head of Reference Services, University of Connecticut School of Law & Christopher Roy, Law Librarian II, Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Library at New Britain.

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-2:30: A2J in Public Libraries: Redefining Access to Legal Assistance for Immigrants. Presenters from The American Place Adult Education & Immigration Services at the Hartford Public Library

2:30: Closing remarks and tour

 

For directions and maps, see https://www.law.uconn.edu/about/maps-directions.  Please park in Lot B.

Engagement

By Bob DeFabrizio, Membership Committee

Engagement.  Much has been written about the need for organizations to engage their employees, members, voters, readers, etc.  But what does this mean?  Engagement is defined as “something that engages” or “emotional involvement or commitment.”  To engage is to “hold the attention of” or “induce participation.”

It is essential for maintaining a vibrant member organization, such as LLNE, that it strives to engage members.  LLNE attempts to accomplish this through education, blogs, social events, and community service.  By fostering a professional “community,” LLNE seeks to advance its stated purpose “to enhance the roles of law librarians in the legal and library professions.”

Unlike larger, better-funded, organizations, such as AALL, employing full-time staff, LLNE relies on the gift of time and energy by its volunteer members.  This task requires dedication and vision, keeping in mind the past, present, and future.  The Association must balance the needs of its diverse membership with the fiscal and administrative responsibilities incumbent with running such an organization.

One important and less discussed part of engagement is the responsibility of Association members to engage with the organization.  A community requires the involvement and commitment of its members to each other and to the community at large.  Members should endeavor to engage with other members.  We have much to gain and learn from each other.  When was the last time you had coffee or lunch with a colleague?  We need to take the time to connect with our neighbor members.  Today, technology is seen as keeping us “connected.”   However, as Sajan Patel recently pointed out “(t)echnology should be used to amplify your community, but it’s not your community itself.”  (www.entrepreneur.com/article/308921)

Just as LLNE needs to engage its members, its members must engage with LLNE, and more importantly, each other.

“ENGAGE, INVOLVE, COLLABORATE”