AALL Online Advocacy Training

By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit

AALL’s Government Relations Office is hosting an Online Advocacy Training session on March 9, 2016,  and its annual  Virtual Lobby Day  on March 16, 2016.

The 30 minute Online Advocacy Training will cover AALL’s legislative priorities, the challenges of this election year session and ways in which AALL members can make an impact.

The Virtual Lobby Day is an annual event where AALL members collaborate with the AALL GRO to prepare and send targeted messages concerning AALL’s top issues to each participant’s own members of Congress.  There will be no in-person Lobby Day this year.

We hope you will join us!

Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald & Emelie Benoit Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Massachusetts Trial Court Proposed Rule

The Trial Court Committee on Public Access to Court Records invites comments  on Proposed Trial Court Rule XIV Uniform Rules on Access to Court Records.

These proposed changes are a result of testimony given at the Court’s public hearing held in June 2015 at which LLNE President Melinda Kent and ABLL President Bob DiFabrizo testified and AALL sent a letter in support. The hearing was covered in our July 2015 blog posting, which includes a link to AALL’s letter of support.

Each proposed uniform rule  is accompanied by the Committee’s explanatory notes for additional guidance.  The LLNE Executive Committee is presently reviewing the proposed rules before taking a position.

Comments should be sent by email to rules.comments@jud.state.ma.us or regular mail, directed to Hon. Peter M. Lauriat, Chair, Public Access to Court Records Committee, Superior Court Administrative Office, 13th Floor, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108, by March 4, 2016.


Massachusetts UELMA Legislation

Massachusetts UELMA bill H.43 remains alive in the House Ways and Means Committee as the 2016 legislative session gets under way.  Last year it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and was forwarded to House Ways and Means for a fiscal review. The UELMA in MA subgroup of LLNE will be hard at work to insure that the bill passes in 2016.  We thank them for their tireless efforts.

Law Librarian of Congress

The Library of Congress sent out a press release  last week announcing that Roberta Schaffer has been appointed as the new Law Librarian of Congress. Shaffer had been serving in the position in an acting capacity since Oct. 5, 2015, and had served previously as the Law Librarian of Congress from August 2009 through November 2011.  For further reading, here is the 2016 New Year’s Greeting from the Law Librarian of Congress and the FY2015 Law Library Annual Report.

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.

Massachusetts UELMA Update

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

As noted in our July, 2015 blog, the Massachusetts UELMA bill  H. 43 was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee following its May 27th hearing, and is now in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Michelle Pearse addressed members in attendance at LLNE Fall meeting at Roger Williams University School of Law, on the behalf of subcommittee Chair Barbara Morgan, about the UELMA in MA Subcommittee’s recent activities. She asked those LLNE members who are Massachusetts residents to contact their representatives, especially those who sit on the House Ways and Means committee.

LLNE President Diane D’Angelo sent a letter dated September 30, 2015 to Representative Brian Dempsey, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, urging him to favorably report the bill out of his committee.  The letter stresses the importance of adopting UELMA.  The full text of the letter, as well as the UELMA in Massachusetts information webpage, can be found here.

Most other New England state legislatures have adjourned for the year and will reconvene in January 2016.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

Government Relations update: American Association of Law Libraries sends letter to President Obama on Qualifications of Next Librarian of Congress

Press release
Contact: Cara Schillinger
Director of Membership, Marketing, and Communications

CHICAGO, August 3, 2015 — The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) today
submitted a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama recommending he nominate a
visionary leader with a deep commitment to preserving cultural memory as the new
Librarian of Congress to replace Dr. James H. Billington, who is retiring from the
position effective January 1, 2016.

The Librarian of Congress heads the Library of Congress, recognized as the United
States’ de facto national library and the largest library in the world. The librarian also
oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, Law Library of Congress, and several other service
and support units.

Dr. Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress, has served in the role for 28 years, after
being appointed to the position by former President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
AALL’s letter asks President Obama, during his search for the next Librarian of
Congress, to consider qualified candidates, including law librarians, who will provide
strong leadership on issues affecting libraries in the digital age — such as preservation
of and permanent public access to born-digital and digitized materials.

AALL believes the next Librarian of Congress should have a transformative vision of a
strong, responsive, and modern Library of Congress for the 21st century and beyond;
possess a sophisticated understanding of how technology can improve library
operations and promote access and preservation; and display a commitment to
transparency, public participation, and collaboration.

The full text of AALL’s letter to the president is available at bit.ly/AALLlocrec. For more information about AALL and its other advocacy efforts, please visit www.aallnet.org.

Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald, Co-Chair, LLNE GRC, and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chair, LLNE GRC


The Massachusetts Trial Court’s Public Access to Court Records Committee held a public hearing on June 15, 2015 to hear comments regarding public access to court records.  Newly implemented changes in the Trial Court’s online access policies have resulted in many users losing eligibility for online accounts which are now restricted to attorneys with Board of Overseers registration.

Bob DeFabrizio, President of the Association of Boston Law  Librarians , (ABLL) expressed the concerns of firm law librarians, and LLNE’s President Mindy Kent stated that providing greater access to court records would allow law librarians to provide more aid to their users, including self-represented litigants, and make it easier for court personnel to do their jobs more effectively. Mindy’s testimony was cited in a Boston Globe article on the hearing.  You may read Mindy’s  written comments submitted to the committee here.

AALL  President Holly Riccio  also submitted written comments, urging the Trial Court to provide law librarians and other users with the same level of no-fee access to court docket information that was previously available. The letter also states that many states and the United States Supreme Court are moving towards greater public access.  We thank  President Riccio and AALL’s Government Relations Office Director Emily Feltren for their support.  See the  AALL website for Holly’s comments.


Massachusetts UELMA bill  H. 43  was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee following a May 27th hearing  and is now in the House Ways and Means Committee.  The UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee of LLNE’s GRC has been spearheading this effort and will meet soon to strategize on the next steps.  The Subcommittee’s Chair Barbara Morgan  testified on behalf of LLNE . Here are some excerpts from her prepared testimony.

“As a law librarian, I am concerned about access to both current and historic Massachusetts legal material. If you visit a Massachusetts law library, you’ll find the General Laws of Massachusetts available in print. It’s easy for me to provide access by placing these books on a shelf and it’s easy for me to preserve access to past laws by keeping the older volumes. It’s also easy for someone using these volumes to tell that they’re looking at an authentic text by inspecting the title page. I don’t currently have the same ability with electronic versions of legal materials.

UELMA will ensure that if an online version is deemed official, it will guarantee the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by print legal publications. UELMA provides for a technology neutral, outcomes based approach that will give Massachusetts flexibility in making sure that official legal material, solely available online, will be authenticated, preserved and made permanently available to the public.” 

We thank all members of the UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee for their persistence and dedication.  We also thank LLNE members who reside in Massachusetts and who have supported this effort by contacting their state legislators.

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 President Melinda Kent quoted in Boston Globe article on public access to court records

Melinda Kent, LLNE’s president, recently testified in the recent June 15th public hearing before the Trial Court Public Access to Court Records Committee to provide comment concerning the public’s access to publicly available court case records. You may read her written comments submitted to the committee here. She was also quoted in Boston Globe article about the proposed changes. Mindy argued that allowing greater access would help librarians as we aid various users of the court system.  You can read the whole article here:

Mass. courts hear pleas for Web access: Data is available on federal system http://bit.ly/1Lfpnal

Bob DeFabrizio, LLNE member and Co-Director of Education also testified in his capacity as President of the Association of Boston Law Librarians (ABLL). AALL also submitted testimony which is available on the AALL website. A list of people registered to speak at the hearing and a list of the members of the Trial Court Public Access to Court Records Committee also appear on our website.

Government Relations Committee Update

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

The Vermont legislature passed H 490, the state budget bill on May 16, 2015 without restoring cuts to the Vermont Department of Libraries’ budget.  Vermont State Law Librarian Paul Donovan thanked LLNE for its support, saying “LLNE’s done all it can, and we’re very, very grateful.”   We have no definite word yet as to what will happen next, far as the state law library is concerned, but we will keep LLNE members posted.  LLNE’s letter to Vermont legislators is posted on the Vermont Library Association’s website.

A recent article in Library Journal discussed the impact of the proposed budget cuts on Vermont and Connecticut libraries, stating that the common problem in both states is that policymakers have a different view of the modern day role of libraries and that it is important for library supporters to speak out.

The AALL Government Relations Office sponsored a very informative Online Advocacy Training session on May 13th entitled: Progress Report: UELMA Advocacy in 2015 and Beyond.   The webinar highlighted the most common challenges advocates face in trying to move UELMA in their respective state legislatures and lays out a roadmap towards overcoming these challenges. A link to the recorded program is here.

The Massachusetts UELMA bill H 43 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. A hearing is scheduled for May 27th at 1 pm in room A-2.

Here is an update from the group’s Chair, Barbara Morgan.

“The UELMA subgroup is continuing to reach out to our legislators re: H43.

We anticipate requesting LLNE members in specific districts to help us move this bill forward in the near future.

Stay tuned to hear about ways you can ensure that legal material deemed official will be preserved and will be permanently available to the public in unaltered form.”

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of legislation which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

UELMA Online Advocacy Training to be Held May 13

The LLNE Government Relations committee encourages us all to participate in the UELMA online training described below.

UELMA Online Advocacy  Training to be Held May 13 

Registration is open for AALL’s next online advocacy training, “Progress  Report: UELMA Advocacy in 2015 and Beyond,”on Wednesday, May 13 at noon EDT. Since it was approved by the Uniform Law Commission in July 2011, the  Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act  ( UELMA ) has been introduced in 20 legislatures and become law in 12 states. In this 30-minute training,  we’ll assess progress made on UELMA , including common advocacy challenges and strategies for success from the AALL members and chapters who have played an instrumental role in advancing the Act. Register  today to learn more about shepherding UELMA through the legislative process and to identify opportunities to help enact UELMA in your state. This training is complimentary for AALL and chapter members.

New UELMA Bill Filed in MA House

HB43 – An Act relative to the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act has been filed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

A one page summary of the bill and why we need to pass this legislation is linked to the LLNE webpage and lots of background information, documentation and tips for advocacy can be found on the AALL UELMA Resources page.

Thanks in advance for your support and assistance!

Barbara Morgan, Michelle Pearse, Barbara Schneider, Marnie Warner, Anne McDonald, Joan Shear
LLNE Massachusetts Government Relations Committee
Sub-committee working on the passage of UELMA in Massachusetts