Like most things during the pandemic, being responsible for the LLNE Archives has been challenging since the committee can’t visit the Archives in person. So your Archives committee is trying to see what we can do to create a digital archive and come up with policies to use going forward. The committee is currently made up of Dana Lusciano, a reference librarian at Silas Bronson Library in Waterbury Connecticut, Andrew Roache, the Associate Law Librarian at the Maine State Law and Legislative Library in Augusta Maine, Olga Umansky, the librarian and archivist for the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in Newton Massachusetts, and Stefanie Weigmann, the Associate Director for Research and Instruction at Boston University School of Law in Boston Massachusetts. Andrew has been reaching out to past presidents to see what digital materials they might have in their files, Dana has been looking at how other regional organizations organize their archives, and Olga has been drafting a collection document. Our main goal is to grow and organize our Archives.
So while we are still in COVID we would like to reach out to you. Do you have any pictures or other interesting digital materials from events or committees you served on during your time with LLNE? Please send it to Andrew.Roache@legislature.maine.gov.
During Covid-19 LLNE has continued this tradition. In spring of 2020 LLNE hosted a virtual meeting and in the fall of 2020 University of Connecticut School of Law Library hosted a webinar and meeting on Dismantling Bias.
Another tradition is providing an annual Legal Research Instruction Program. The 2021 program will start on March 17th. Suffolk University School of Law Library will round out the programing by hosting the meeting for spring 2021. The Education Committee is soliciting ideas from members for topics or suggestions on ways to improve the format or delivery of these LLNE’s educational programs. Please reach to the Co-Directors Maureen Quinlan and Jessica Panella.
LLNE members will be voting to fill three open positions this spring: Vice-President/President-Elect, Treasurer, and 1 Education Director position. If you know someone who would be great in one of these roles, please reach out to one of us by March 16th with your nominations.
I log into my work email for the first time today and am greeted by several emails from familiar LLNE names. With an ever expanding subject line that includes as least 4 “RE: [EXT]s,” my eyes scan the email in the hopes of seeing a resolution from my co-webmaster. Absent any such resolution, I start from the beginning and identify that this is not a crisis email like the ones that we’ve gotten for our hacked website or after I broke the website while trying to update plugins. This time, it’s just a request to help build a form for facilitating registration and payment for the upcoming Legal Research Instruction Program. Since I have a busy morning reference shift ahead of me, I email the concerned parties that we will work on this request later in the day.
In the meantime, I email my co-webmaster to see if he is able to address this today. He’s too busy with real job duties, so I offer to take this one.
After reviewing the specific needs of the registration form, I log into Jotform to see if I can recycle a similar form that we’ve used in the past. Luckily, the previous form is still there. I duplicate the old version, tweak some dates, and give it a test drive. Once it passes the test drive, I email the co-webmaster to check my work. Since he created the original form, I want to make sure that the form will link with Paypal correctly. After a brief Zoom meeting, I respond to the original email thread with a direct link to the form. Proud of myself for finishing this task without breaking a sweat, I close my work laptop for the day.
The latest episode of WandaVision just wrapped up and I check at my work email, hoping to get a jumpstart on weeding out spam email before my busy morning tomorrow. The unusual amount of new “RE: [EXT]” subject lines is alarming. With a swift touch of a button, my work laptop fires up. It appears that I prematurely patted myself on the back for a job well done this afternoon. While I had correctly created a new registration form, the old form was still linked online and causing confusion. I quickly reassure the interested parties, deactivate the old form, and send out the current link again.
Hi! We are Phoebe and Rupert and Josh LaPorte is our person!
Ellen: Hi, Phoebe and Rupert. Thanks for sitting down with us today.
Sara: Thank you for granting us this exclusive interview.
Ellen: We want to get to know the real Josh better and we thought we could start by asking you a few questions.
Phoebe: I really don’t understand why you want to talk to me about Josh when you could talk to me about myself, but whatever cranks your tractor.
Rupert: I love Josh, he is my favorite human. What would you like to know?
Sara: What does Josh do for fun?
Phoebe: Josh likes to cook and I always supervise him in the kitchen. He bakes a lot of bread and will never give us any of the dough because he read that it can expand in our stomachs and make us blow up but I think that is an unproven theory and the only way we can prove it is incorrect is if Josh gives me some dough.
Rupert: Josh knows I love vegetable scraps and always gives them to me when Phoebe isn’t looking. If she sees she steals them.
Phoebe: Those two are thick as thieves. Men always sticking up for each other. I should get those scraps!
Ellen: What is your favorite thing about Josh?
Rupert: Josh spends a lot of time on the couch watching 1980s tv; The Golden Girls, Dynasty, Designing Women, Murder She Wrote. He lets me snuggle on the couch with him. I love big hair and shoulder pads and time on the couch.
Phoebe: Josh is very easy for me to boss around. He is such a sucker for cute looks, which means I get more things to eat. And yes, those people in the 1980s lived by my motto (paraphrasing Dolly Parton): The bigger the hair, the closer to God.
Sara: What is your least favorite thing about Josh?
Phoebe: Josh simply refuses to acknowledge that I am a grown dog and can make my own decisions. I have to bark a lot to get through to him. He also fails to see that I need several meals a day; after all, one must keep one’s strength up!
Rupert: Josh spends a lot of time at this place he calls “work.” I really hate when he goes anywhere without me and it’s been nice having him spending more time at home with me because of what he calls “the pandemic,” whatever that is.
Ellen: What is Josh’s favorite guilty pleasure?
Phoebe: Josh is always listening to Céline Dion. If I have to listen to “where does my heart beat now” one more time I will eat Josh’s slippers just to teach him a lesson. Do you know all the lyrics to “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi?” Unfortunately, I do. I also know that Céline won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988 with that awful song. Josh even makes us watch the terrible video with Céline wearing a grotesque and horrible white ballerina skirt with a double-breasted blazer and terrible permed hair. Emetic!
Rupert: I don’t mind if Josh listens to Céline Dion, as long as he lets me snuggle on the couch with him while he does it. But his real favorite guilty pleasure is baths. He is always in the tub and it bothers me because I can’t get in with him so I just lie on the bathmat until he gets out.
Sara: This brings us to our final question: If Josh won the lottery what would he do with the money?
Phoebe: Josh is always yammering on about community organizing and collective power. I think he would use the money to fund organizing efforts. This is dumb, he should use the money to buy a house with a big yard I can run free in!
Rupert: I agree with Phoebe. But I also hope that Josh will get a ramp so I can get on the couch by myself, I can’t jump up by myself anymore.
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.
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.
Rereading the piece, I am struck by my enthusiasm – and how cliché it all reads, I was not providing new and insightful comments. But, it does remind me of the value of continuing to expand and renew our knowledge as knowledge professionals. And even for those of us with more experience, everything is new to someone.
As the newer co-Education Director (Can we pause and marvel at the fancy title) with Maureen Quinlan, I agreed to run because of the value of education for all members of our organizations.
Now, in a pandemic we have to rethink how we educate and connect members while keeping our libraries afloat. Somewhere I read that we need to remember we’re not working from home, we’re working from home during a pandemic. Now, many of us are also staffing open libraries. Its daunting, emotional work. Our members are also furloughed, laid off or job hunting. How can we help them and their professional development? So if you have ideas for education, or ways LLNE can assist members, please let Maureen, I or any member of the LLNE Board know.
For a sample email or to discuss these efforts further, please email Catherine Biondo, LLNE GRC MA representative, on behalf of the LLNE UELMA in MA committee (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, if you choose to send an email, please bcc Catherine on your email or forward her a copy afterward.
Since the co-sponsorship deadline is approaching quickly, time is of the essence. Please contact your legislators by Friday, February 12.
Due to the pandemic, which prevented most state legislatures in our region from holding sessions, the LLNE Government Relations Committee does not have any legislative activity or policy initiatives of interest to law librarians to report. Our bit of good news: Catherine Biondo, Research Librarian at Harvard Law School and former LLNE President, is the LLNE GRC’s newest member and is serving as the LLNE GRC’s Massachusetts State Representative. As detailed in our September 2020 blog post, Catherine was recently appointed to the AALL Government Relations Committee and also serves as AALL’s liaison to LLNE.
Earlier this month the LLNE Executive Board and LLNE Committee members were invited to engage in a two day retreat on the topic of antiracism. It is hard to take out 2 days of your schedule and make yourself available for intense volunteer work, but many of our amazing board members and volunteers did; some while on reference duty; and some on mommy duty. Beyond just showing up, those that attended engaged with the work, for which I am grateful.
The speaker on the first day of the retreat was Dr. Raul Fernandez who is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and a lecturer in Wheelock’s Higher Education Administration program. He was phenomenal. (I recorded the talk and am free to share it with members if any of you are interested!). The remainder of the retreat was spent on thinking about big ways and small ways we can make our organization and its policies antiracist and more inclusive.
In 2020, our board released a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement where we stated:
We therefore want you to know we are committed to systemic change and doing work which furthers equity, access, and justice for the Black community not only in our country, but within our organization.
This was a statement condemning acts of violence and committing ourselves to the work of systemic change. We released the statement because we thought it critical to affirm our beliefs. It is also an invitation to hold the organization and its leaders responsible for following through on its statement. The statement was a promise to do more and do better.
The work of the new Diversity and Inclusion Working Group is one way we are upholding our promise. This retreat was another. Our work will continue throughout this Spring.
One of the themes that surfaced at the retreat was that the organization needs to be more open and inclusive when selecting leaders. Another way of expressing this is that our organization needs to choose leaders in a different, and more transparent, way. We need to recruit beyond our own networks of colleagues and instead post position descriptions and open calls for volunteers in a more intentional way. This may not yield instant results but it may set the tone for a more inclusive professional organization.
One way this can begin is through the organization’s yearly nomination process. The first step in this journey is selecting members of the LLNE Nominating Committee.
The Nominating Committee currently has room for 2 volunteers. If anyone is interested, please email me. As described below, the duties are fairly limited and the tasks completed in about 2 months.
Below is the description of the Nominating Committee charge:
1. Members of the Nominating Committee are appointed by the President in consultation with the Executive Committee at least ninety days prior to the annual meeting. Three in number, the members should represent a cross-section of library types and states in the Chapter. The Chairperson should be a previous member of the Committee. Members hold office for a term of one year.
2. Committee members shall develop a list of candidates who are knowledgeable, dedicated to improving the profession, have an interest in the chapter and its goals, and have a willingness to serve. In developing the slate of candidates, the Committee shall attempt to give representation to each state and library type when possible.
3. The Committee develops a priority list of candidates for each office and approaches each candidate about his/her willingness to serve.
4. Once the slate of candidates has been finalized, the Chairperson notifies the President at least sixty days prior to the annual meeting. Although additional nominations may be made directly to the President (see Article VI of the LLNE Bylaws), the slate generally includes one candidate for each office.
5. After the President has been notified, the Committee Chairperson sends a copy of the Committee Report to the editor of LLNE News for publication at least thirty days prior to the annual meeting.
I am the president of LLNE for the next 6 months and I hope that during this time, and beyond, we all can work to make LLNE a better organization. I am open to hearing about ways this can be done. I invite you to email me or call me to discuss your thoughts. I invite you to hold us accountable for our actions and our statements.
Finally, thanks should also go to the D&I working group members and leaders for their work. Also, there was a lot of behind the scenes work that was done by Christie, Mike, and Rachel to make the retreat happen that I am thankful for.