Old Members, New Members, and Librarian Thoughts

A few months ago former LLNE member Professor Sarah Ryan emailed LLNE President Michael VanderHeijden to discuss a new Northern New England online cohort at the University of North Texas Department of Information Science. Mike sent the email to me and my interest was piqued.

As a former law librarian in Maine, I know that Northern New England can sometimes be overlooked. While there are three ALA-accredited Library and Information Schools in New England with the University of Rhode Island (Go Rams! I am a proud alum!), Southern Connecticut State University, and Simmons University, none are physically located in Northern New England (for more info on ALA-accredited programs, check out this database). As much of library school is online (because it is designed to be or because of COVID) I wondered what this Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine cohort was all about so I decided to ask a friend.

Amanda Ouellette is a Library Associate at the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library. She works mainly in technical services and cataloging and is part of a team working on a multi-year digitization and review of historical and current Maine legislative documents. (As I type this she is working on the digitization of the 1967 Maine House and Senate Registers having worked her way back from 2007 with her sights on going all the way back to 1915). She had worked in libraries for about 10 years when, in January of 2022, Amanda began UNT’s MLS program through its Vermont-New Hampshire-Maine Cohort.  

I spoke with Amanda and first I convinced her to join LLNE for the low, low, low student rate of $5 per year! Next, I asked her some questions to learn more about the student perspective on the new cohort. Amanda liked the experience at UNT so far. She likes that the program is all online and affordable. (Also, work reimburses part of her tuition which is an amazing benefit of being a state employee!)  She says she has up to 5 years to finish her program so she can pace herself and manage the school and work and life demands. She likes the cohort model, stating that there are about a dozen people in it. Amanda is the only member of the cohort with an interest in law libraries at this time but there are many other members of the cohort interested in public librarianship. She is most looking forward to a class on information organization like cataloging or metadata because she says her job revolves around cataloging which is something in which she has no formal instruction.

Looking to find out more details about this new cohort, I emailed Professor Sarah Ryan. The first thing I did was convince her to rejoin LLNE for the low, low, low cost of $10 per year. Next, I asked Sarah a bit about the program from her perspective as a professor. As Sarah describes it, “The cohort model is about people. Librarians are more than just walking skills repositories. We are sounding boards for each other, research collaborators, and just plain interesting people to know. The cohort class meetings bring our students together to make connections (and swap cat stories).”

For more information on the cohort, check out this flyer. For more information about joining LLNE, click here. (https://llne.org/join-llne/)

-Nicole Dyszlewski

Nominations: Vice-President position

The LLNE Nominating Committee will be meeting this spring to come up with a list of candidates for elections to the LLNE Executive Committee. If you are looking for an opportunity to get more involved in LLNE, one way to do so (besides volunteering for one of our fantastic committees) is to serve on the Executive Committee as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President, or President. As part of our push toward greater transparency, we’re circulating information about each of these positions to help you decide whether you might want to serve in any of these roles at some point during your career. This installment is all about the Vice-President/President Elect.

The Vice-President serves for one year (July-June) before becoming President. Following that one-year term as President, the now former President continues to serve on the LLNE Executive Committee as Immediate Past President. So, all told, this is a three year commitment. The Vice-President assists the President (think meetings, retreats, communications), chairs the Budget Subcommittee, and – in my case – tries to learn as much as possible from President Dyszlewski, who knows stuff about LLNE procedures and policies, and seems to have a bottomless well of energy and ideas. Although there aren’t any prerequisites for serving as Secretary or Treasurer, candidates for Vice-President should have the benefit of having previously participated on the LLNE Executive Board. Basically, that means you’ll be better-prepared if you’ve had some prior involvement in the leadership of LLNE, whether as a chair or co-chair of one of the many committees, or as Secretary or Treasurer. Below you’ll find the official list of duties recorded in the LLNE Procedures Manual.

If you’re interested in the role of Vice-President, please contact Diane D’Angelo, Chair of the Nominating Committee. We would love for you to be involved.


From the LLNE Procedures Manual:

1. The Vice-President/President-Elect shall serve as a member of the LLNE Executive Committee and perform such duties as are assigned by the President. 

2. In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall preside at Business and Executive Board meetings. 

3. In the event that the President resigns prior to the completion of the regular term of office or, in the judgment of the Executive Committee is unable to perform the duties of the office, the Vice-President/President-Elect shall assume the role of President for the remainder of the term. 

4. The Vice-President chairs the Budget Subcommittee of the Executive Board and is responsible for the timely submission of the budget proposal to the Executive Board for consideration and approval. 

5. The Vice-President/President-Elect shall join the chapter President in attending the annual meeting of the Council of Chapter Presidents at the AALL annual meeting and provides a report of the meeting to the Executive Board.


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.


LLNE’s 2017 AALL Award Winners

The LLNE Membership Development Committee would like to recognize the following LLNE members who have won awards granted by AALL:

  • AALL Spectrum Article of the Year: Pat Newcombe, Western New England University School of Law Library
  • LexisNexis/John R. Johnson Memorial Scholarship: Alisha Hennen, Roger Williams University Law Library
  • Marcia J. Koslov Scholarship: Jessica Lundgren, Maine Law & Legislative Reference Library
  • AALL Annual Meeting Grant: Elaine Apostola, Maine Law & Legislative Reference Library
  • AALL Annual Meeting Chapter Grant: T.K. Adkins, Boston University Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries
  • LISP-SIS Kathy Garner Grant: Jessica Almeida, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth School of Law Library
  • SR-SIS Alan Holoch Memorial Grant: Joshua LaPorte, University of Connecticut School of Law Library

See more details on the awards at http://www.aallnet.org/mm/Member-Resources/AALLawards/2017AALLawardsbrochure.pdf

Congratulations all!

Raquel M. Ortiz & Jenna Fegreus

LLNE Membership Development Committee Co-Chairs

Generosity: A Message from the LLNE Membership Committee

By Nicole P. Dyszlewski

Because the Service Committee’s Spring project benefits the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Library System and I am a Rhode Island law librarian, I have been receiving the donations here in my office at Roger Williams University Library. I have been so impressed by the generosity of LLNE members. While the book drive, Bringing Books Behind Bars, is being organized by the Service Committee, and I am sure that committee will thank all donors fully, I just wanted to take a moment from behind the wall of donated books in my office to point out what is obvious to me. It is obvious to me that LLNE is a community of thoughtful, generous, and committed members.

Book Drive Pic

Every morning for the last few weeks I have come in to my office to find packages from Amazon. These books have been donated from active librarians and retired librarians from government, academic and private firm libraries from several New England states. Several people have even donated multiple books! It is clear from the response to the Service Committee’s call to action that the members of our organization are engaged and involved in this project.

Many professional organizations (including our own) have lately suffered from a decrease in members. In addition, leaders of these organizations, and LLNE in particular, work hard to assess how actively engaged members appear. LLNE uses data such as number of attendees at meetings and responses to listserv posts on issues to gauge the connectivity and vibrancy of the organization. These conversations and changes made to organizational processes are important. If you have ideas on how LLNE can continue to serve its members, the Membership Committee and all of LLNE leadership would be happy to speak with you. This conversation continues and we invite you to be one of the participants as we move forward.

LLNE Members’ Leadership Potential Recognized by AALL

Leadership is a vital quality that empowers individuals to inspire and guide others toward shared goals and success. In today’s dynamic and competitive professional landscape, cultivating effective leadership skills has become increasingly crucial. The AALL Leadership Academy provides a remarkable platform for aspiring members of the legal profession to enhance their capabilities and learn from experts in the field. Through a comprehensive program encompassing various assessments, collaborative discussions, and networking opportunities, participants like Claire, Nicole, Cate, Anna, and Anne will embark on a transformative journey toward becoming exceptional leaders. As they delve into topics such as communication, collaboration, and the distinction between leadership and management, they will gain invaluable insights that will shape their careers and contribute to the future of their organizations. To navigate the ever-evolving landscape of leadership in the legal field, it is essential to embrace such opportunities for growth and development. For more information on leadership strategies and insights, visit https://kurtuhlir.com/what-is-enterprise-seo/ to explore valuable resources and perspectives from industry experts.

The January 2016 issue of the AALL E-Newsletter announced the participants for this year’s AALL Leadership Academy.
The LLNE Executive Board is pleased to acknowledge the five LLNE members selected to participate in this year’s academy:

• Claire DeMarco
• Nicole Dyszlewski
• Cate Kellett
• Anna Lawless-Collins
• Anne Rajotte

AALL’s Leadership Academy is an opportunity for newer and aspiring members of the profession to develop and learn from experts and each other essential skills for effective leadership such as communication, collaboration, leadership versus management, and more.
Through a series of assessments, focused conversations, group activities, and networking opportunities, these aspiring newer members will develop these skills and add colleagues from around the nation to their expanding network of professional connections.
Congratulations to Anna, Anne, Cate, Claire, and Nicole! Watch this space and other LLNE communications media for a view into the leadership academy from our participating members.

Posted on behalf of Raquel Ortiz, Assistant Dean for Library and Information Services & Associate Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law, Membership Development Chair of LLNE

Education Committee Update

By Ellen Frentzen & Elliot Hibbler

As we’re writing this, Elliott has finished up a proposal  for an AALL/Bloomberg BNA Continuing Education Grant to fund an exciting new continuing education series from LLNE. More details coming soon!

Planning for the Spring Meeting, which will be held April 8 at Northeastern University, is also well under way. It will be a joint meeting with ABLL, and the theme is Access to Government information. Be sure to save the date for this one!

Elliott is also co-teaching the legal information sources class offered to MLS students at Simmons with fellow LLNE member Scott Akehurst-Moore. If you have the opportunity, please recommend the course to your Simmons friends (and of course, suggest they join LLNE—it’s only $5 for a student membership, and there are lots of great benefits).

LLNE Fall Meeting Update

By the Planning Committee

This year’s Fall LLNE meeting Successfully Supporting & Igniting Innovation is being hosted by the staff of the Roger Williams University School of Law Library and is being held in Bristol, RI. If you have never been to Bristol you are missing out. While it is best known for its festive (some might say over the top?) 4th of July celebration, it has also recently been recognized as a leaf peeping destination. According to TripAdvisor, Bristol is one of “23 of the most scenic North American destinations for leaf peeping this autumn.”


If you haven’t already registered for the LLNE Fall meeting, registration will be open until September 25th. For more information about what Bristol has to offer as a weekend destination, see the meeting’s website. Also, scholarship applications are still being accepted at this time.

We are looking forward to the meeting and looking forward to showing you all Rhode Island has to offer!

Fall Meeting Plenary Speaker Announced

The LLNE Fall Meeting Planning Committee is excited to announce Margaret Hagan as our plenary speaker for the upcoming Fall meeting at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, RI.

In keeping with the theme on innovation, we will be mixing the day up by hosting Ms. Hagan remotely via Skype during our lunch time.

Margaret Hagan is a Fellow at the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford Law School & a Lecturer at the Stanford Institute of Design (d.school).

While a student at Stanford Law, Ms. Hagan built Law Dojo to make studying for law school classes more interactive. She also started the blog Open Law Lab which was chosen as one of the top 100 legal sites by the ABA Journal in 2014. While a fellow at the d.school, she launched the Legal Design Initiative (formerly the Program for Legal Technology & Design), experimenting in how design can make legal services more usable, useful & engaging.

One of Ms. Hagan’s projects may be especially interesting to law librarians. The Visual Law Library is a free online collection of law visualizations, including infographics. One fun example is Mistake Defenses to Crimes at http://www.legaltechdesign.com/visualawlibrary/2014/02/13/mistake-defenses-to-crimes/.

The RWU law library staff has been at work on the upcoming meeting for months and is very excited that Margaret Hagan will be joining us. We are looking forward to sharing the day with LLNE members discussing innovation.

Please register now for the LLNE Fall Meeting, Successfully Supporting & Igniting Innovation.

Invitation to Innovation

LLNE_FallMtg_web FINAL

Innovation surrounds our profession. Constant changes in legal technology, the practice of law, librarianship, information politics, and organizational culture often represent tremendous creativity and innovation.

You are cordially invited to join us for the LLNE Fall Meeting titled Successfully Supporting & Igniting Innovation which will be hosted by Roger Williams University School of Law Library in Bristol, RI on October 2, 2015. The RWU law library staff has been planning this meeting for months and is looking forward to sharing the day with you talking about innovation!  We are trying to strike a balance between the theoretical, the practical, and the fun. We are also showcasing all Rhode Island has to offer on the innovation front.

This meeting attempts to engage successful innovators in our field and in New England in a discussion about why innovation is important and how we can support innovation among ourselves, for our patrons, at our institutions, in the practice of law, and as learning facilitators. The morning will feature panelists who will discuss the importance of supporting an innovative culture and the afternoon will feature an unconference.

For those of you who had the opportunity to attend the AALL Annual Meeting this year, you may have noticed an interactive whiteboard display for attendees to contribute ideas and sketches to during the course of the event. In the spirit of innovation, we are planning on having a similar reflective graphic available for conference attendees to express ideas on creating and supporting library and legal innovation. Created by a librarian/artist from New Hampshire, this experience promises to be unique and fun.

Registration is now open. More information will be posted as it becomes available. If you have questions about lodging, the program, or registration, please contact Raquel Ortiz at rortiz@rwu.edu.


Photo Credit: Kathleen MacAndrew